Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 11 September-17 September 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 September-17 September 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 September-17 September 2013. 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 during 10-11 September explosions from Fuego generated ash plumes that drifted W and NW. Ejected material formed avalanches within the crater. On 10 September lahars that descended the Taniluya (SW) drainage were 15-20 m wide, 1-2 m deep, and carried tree trunks. The lahars blocked roads in Panimache I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Santa Sofía (12 km SW) for two hours. The next day lahars descended the Las Lajas and El Jute drainages (SE); they were 30 m wide, 4 m deep, and carried 2-m-diameter blocks, branches, and tree trunks.
Explosions during 11-12 September produced rumbling sounds and ash plumes that rose 500 m. Incandescent material was ejected 100 m and formed avalanches on the crater rim. A 150-m-long lava flow was active in Ceniza (SSW) drainage. During 12-13 September ash plumes from explosions rose 200-400 m and drifted W and NE. Avalanches from ejected material again formed around the crater. Explosions during 14-15 September generated ash plumes that rose 850 m and drifted 10-12 km W and SW. The explosions produced shock waves that rattled structures in villages within10 km of Fuego. Block avalanches descended Ceniza drainage. During 15-16 September explosions generated ash plumes that rose 550 m and drifted SW, and ejected incandescent material 75-100 m high. Ash fell at the observatory.
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.