Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 8 December-14 December 2010
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 December-14 December 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 December-14 December 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 8 December, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted S and SW. The Washington VAAC stated that on 10 December an ash plume was observed in satellite imagery. During 13-14 December, INSIVUMEH again reported explosions; ash plumes rose 400-900 m above the crater and drifted S and SE. Some of the explosions were heard 10 km away and generated shock waves that rattled structures nearby, including Panimache (8 km SW), Morelia (10 km SW), Santa Sofía, and Yucales (12 km SW). Avalanches descended the S and W flanks. At night, incandescent material was ejected 100 m high.
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.