Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 23 April-29 April 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 April-29 April 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 April-29 April 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH noted in a special report from 25 April that explosions at Fuego were occurring at a rate of 5-6 per hour, generating ash plumes that rose 350-650 m above the crater and drifting 10 km S and SW. Ashfall was reported in Panimaché, Morelia, and Santa Sofía; shock waves vibrated houses in those three towns among others. Avalanches of incandescent blocks reached vegetated areas. Explosions during 26-28 April produced ash plumes that rose 350-800 m and drifted 10 km W. Villagers in Panimaché, Morelia, and Santa Sofía again reported vibrating houses and ashfall. Block avalanches originated from the crater and descended the flanks. During 28-29 April explosions were detected at a rate of 6-8 per hour. Ash plumes rose 750 m and drifted 10 km W and NW. Explosions caused houses on the SW flank to vibrate.
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.