Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 16 November-22 November 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 16 November-22 November 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, 16 November-22 November 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 during 16-17 and 19 November explosions at Fuego generated ash plumes that rose 650-950 m above the crater rim and drifted 12 km W, SW, and S. Incandescent material was ejected as high as 200 m causing minor avalanches confined to the crater. The 15th Strombolian episode in 2016 began on 20 November. Lava fountains rose as high as 300 m and fed three lava flows which traveled 1 km S down the Trinidad drainage, 2 km SSW down the Ceniza drainage, and 2.5 km SE down the Las Lajas drainage. Explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 1.3 km and drifted 15 km S and SW. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), and Panimaché I and II (8 km SW). Lava fountains continued to rise 300 m above the crater rim on 21 November and avalanches of material descended the Santa Teresa (W) and Taniluyá (SW) drainages. Ash plumes rose 1.3 km and drifted 20 km S, SW, and W, causing ashfall again in Morelia, Santa Sofía, and Panimaché I and II. INSIVUMEH noted that on 22 November the Strombolian eruptive phase had ended. Ash plumes continued to be generated, rising as high as 1.8 km and drifting more than 10 km S and SW.
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.