Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 13 January-19 January 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 January-19 January 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 January-19 January 2016. 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 approximately 1-2 explosions every four hours were detected at Fuego during 14-15 January. Ash plumes rose 450-650 m above the crater and drifted N and NE. During 16-17 January, 4-5 explosion per hour were detected, generating ash plumes that rose 750 m and drifted 12 km NE. Block avalanches descended the flanks in multiple directions. There were 26 explosions during 18-19 January, with some generating shock waves and jet engine sounds. Ash plumes rose 550-850 m and drifted 10-12 km S, SW, and W. Three lava flows in the Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Santa Teresa drainages were at most 2 km long.
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.