Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 18 February-24 February 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 February-24 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, 18 February-24 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)
INSIVUMEH reported that during 19-20 February explosions at Fuego produced dense ash plumes that rose 650-1,250 m above the crater and drifted 12-15 km W, S, and SE. Shock waves from some of the explosions rattled structures in nearby areas including Panimache (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Santa Sofía (12 km SW). Crater incandescence was visible at night and block avalanches that descended the Santa Teresa (W), Cenizas (SSW), Trinidad (S), and Las Lajas (SE) ravines. Ashfall was reported in Panimache and La Rochela. During 21-22 February explosions occurring at a rate of 5-7 per hour generated dense ash plumes that rose 550-850 m and drifted 10-15 km NE, W, and SW. Ash fell in Panimache I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía, and Yepocapa (8 km NW). During 22-23 February explosions at a rate of 4-6 per hour were detected. Gray plumes rose 650-850 m and drifted 10-12 km. Explosions ejected tephra 100 m above the crater. Ashfall was again reported in nearby communities including Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofía. Explosions continued to be detected during 23-24 February and incandescent material was ejected 100 m.
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.