Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 13 May-19 May 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 May-19 May 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, 13 May-19 May 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 14-15 May the number and intensity of explosions at Fuego was high. During 14-17 May ash plumes rose 450-750 m above the crater and drifted 10-12 km W and SW. Shock waves from some explosions rattled nearby houses on the W and SW flanks, including in Morelia, Panimache, and Sangre de Cristo. Ashfall was reported in Panimache, Morelia, and Santa Sofía. Incandescent tephra was ejected 150-200 m above the crater and block avalanches descended multiple drainages. In a special report from 18 May, INSIVUMEH stated that hours after of an effusive eruption that ended at 1730 observers noted ash plumes drifting 10 km and a S-flank lava flow. The report also stated that inclement weather had hindered views during the previous few days. During 18-19 May explosions generated ash plumes that rose 550-750 m and drifted 10 km W and SW. Ash fell in Morelia, Panimache I and II, and Santa Sofía. Incandescent tephra was ejected 150 m above the crater and block avalanches descended multiple 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.