Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 11 February-17 February 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 February-17 February 2015
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2015. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 February-17 February 2015. 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 February INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Fuego produced water vapor, gas, and ash plumes that rose 350-800 m above the crater and drifted E and S, and at times NW, drifting as high as 1.7 km. During 12-14 February explosions generated ash plumes that rose 800 m and drifted 10-11 km E and SE. Incandescent material was ejected 100-150 m above the crater, causing avalanches in the Trinidad (S) drainage. During 15-16 February block avalanches descended the Cenizas (SSW), Trinidad, and Las Lajas (SE) drainages. Ashfall was reported in Panimache (8 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW). In a special report on 16 February INSIVUMEH noted 4-6 explosions per hour, and ash plumes that rose, based on pilot reports, to altitudes of 7-9.1 km (23,000-30,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted more than 15 km SW and W. Another special report issued on 17 February stated that 4-6 explosions per hour continued to be detected. Large amounts of ash formed mushroom-shaped clouds that rose 0.6-1.1 km above the crater and drifted over 15 km NW, W, SE, and S. Incandescent material was ejected 150 m above the crater, causing avalanches in the Trinidad, Ceniza, Las Lajas, and Santa Teresa 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.