Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 25 November-1 December 2015
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 November-1 December 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, 25 November-1 December 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 on 29 November activity at Fuego increased significantly, characterized by large and strong explosions, ash plumes, and lava flows. Ash plumes rose as high as 2.2 km above the crater and drifted 40 km W and SW. Lava fountains rose 500 m above the crater, feeding four lava flows that traveled 3-4 km down the Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Santa Teresa drainages. Ash fell in Panimache I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Yucales (12 km SW), Rochelle, Ceylon, and other neighboring communities. Activity declined on 30 November; lava fountains rose 100-150 m, and ash plumes rose 1 km and drifted 25 km WSW. Lava flows were active in five drainages, including the Honda drainage (E flank). On 1 December weak-to-moderate explosions generated ash plumes that rose 400-800 m and drifted 10-12 km W and SW. Lava fountains continued to rise as high as 150 m. The five lava flows were at most 3 km long, and small pyroclastic flows descended the Honda drainage.
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.