Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 15 April-21 April 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 15 April-21 April 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, 15 April-21 April 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 15-17 April explosions at Fuego generated ash plumes that rose 650-850 m above the crater and drifted 8-11 km S, SW, and W. Incandescent tephra was ejected 150-200 m above the crater. Avalanches originated from the end of a 300-m-long lava flow in the Trinidad drainage. In a special report from 18 April INSIVUMEH noted that lava effusion had ended at 1730 that day. The activity that followed was characterized by explosions occurring at a rate of 2-4 per hour and crater incandescence. During 19-20 April explosions occurring at a rate of 2-3 per hour generated ash plumes that rose 450-750 m and drifted 4-6 km W and NW. Incandescent tephra was ejected 100 m high and avalanches descended the Ceniza and Trinidad drainages. Explosions during 20-21 April produced ash plumes that rose 550 m and drifted 7 km W and NW. Incandescent tephra was again ejected 100 m high.
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.