Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 11 March-17 March 2009
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 March-17 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, 11 March-17 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)
On 12, 16, and 17 March, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.2-4.8 km (13,800-15,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S and SW. Incandescent material was ejected 75 m into the air. Some explosions produced rumbling sounds heard in nearby towns. White plumes rose 150-200 m above the summit. During 16-17 March, fine ashfall was reported in areas downwind.
Based on analysis of satellite imagery and SIGMET notices, the Washington VAAC reported that during 12-13 March ash plumes drifted S and SW. On 13 March, the ash plume rose to an altitude of 5 km (16,500 ft) a.s.l.
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.