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Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 10 December-16 December 2008

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 December-16 December 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 December-16 December 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (10 December-16 December 2008)



14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Based on NOTAM's ("Notices to Airmen"), the Washington VAAC reported that on 9 December a possible gas-and-ash plume from Fuego rose to an altitude of 4.9 km (16,000 ft) a.s.l., drifted N, and dissipated rapidly. INSIVUMEH reported that on 12 December explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.1-5 km (13,500-16,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SSW. The explosions produced rumbling and degassing sounds, and shock waves were detected 10 km away.

Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. In contrast to the mostly andesitic Acatenango, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows.

Sources: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)