Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 4 March-10 March 2009
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 March-10 March 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 March-10 March 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 5 March multiple ash plumes from Fuego drifted W. On 6 and 10 March, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.2-4.8 km (13,800-15,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 12-15 km S and SW. Some strong explosions were accompanied by rumbling noises, shock waves detected 8 km away, avalanches of blocks down all flanks, and ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 5 km (16,400 ft) a.s.l. Ashfall was reported in areas to the SW.
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.