Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 9 November-15 November 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 November-15 November 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 November-15 November 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH reported that activity at Fuego increased during 8-9 November. Explosions produced shock waves that were detected up to 15 km away, rumbling sounds, and ash plumes that rose 1.5-2 km above the crater and drifted 20 km SW. Ash fell on the SW flank in Panimaché (6 km SW), Morelia (7 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and Santa Sofía. Block avalanches descended the flanks. During 9-10 November explosions generated ash plumes that rose 600-800 m above the crater and drifted 10 km S and SW. Avalanches descended the SW flank towards the Taniluya and Ceniza drainages.
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.