Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 1 February-7 February 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
In a special report from 2 February, INSIVUMEH noted increased activity at Fuego characterized by explosions occurring every 5-15 minutes. Ash plumes rose as high as 750 m and drifted 15 km W, causing ashfall in areas downwind including Sangre de Cristo and San Pedro Yepocapa. During 2-7 February explosions generated ash plumes that rose 0.4-1.1 km above the crater and drifted at most 12 km NW, W, SW, and S. Incandescent material was ejected 150 m high, and avalanches traveled down the Taniluyá (SW) and Ceniza (SSW) drainages. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Rochela, and Panimaché I and II (8 km SW). Shock waves from explosions rattled nearby structures.
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.