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Report on Pacaya (Guatemala) — January 1983

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 8, no. 1 (January 1983)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Pacaya (Guatemala) Minor flank lava emission

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1983. Report on Pacaya (Guatemala). In: McClelland, L (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 8:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198301-342110.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Pacaya

Guatemala

14.382°N, 90.601°W; summit elev. 2569 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Maurice Krafft climbed Pacaya 28-29 January and observed lava emerging sluggishly from the SW flank vent that had been much more vigorously active in early 1982. The lava formed a single flow, about 3-4 m thick and less than 50 m long, that advanced only about 1 m/day. When Alfredo MacKenney had climbed the volcano 3 weeks earlier, the same vent had been feeding 3 aa flows, each about 2-3 m wide and 20 m long. None of these tiny flows were still active in late January. Moderate degassing continued from summit vents.

Geologic Background. Eruptions from Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, are frequently visible from Guatemala City, the nation's capital. This complex basaltic volcano was constructed just outside the southern topographic rim of the 14 x 16 km Pleistocene Amatitlán caldera. A cluster of dacitic lava domes occupies the southern caldera floor. The post-caldera Pacaya massif includes the ancestral Pacaya Viejo and Cerro Grande stratovolcanoes and the currently active Mackenney stratovolcano. Collapse of Pacaya Viejo between 600 and 1500 years ago produced a debris-avalanche deposit that extends 25 km onto the Pacific coastal plain and left an arcuate somma rim inside which the modern Pacaya volcano (Mackenney cone) grew. A subsidiary crater, Cerro Chino, was constructed on the NW somma rim and was last active in the 19th century. During the past several decades, activity has consisted of frequent strombolian eruptions with intermittent lava flow extrusion that has partially filled in the caldera moat and armored the flanks of Mackenney cone, punctuated by occasional larger explosive eruptions that partially destroy the summit of the growing young stratovolcano.

Information Contacts: M. Krafft, Cernay, France; A. MacKenney, Guatemala City.