Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 29 March-4 April 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 March-4 April 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, 29 March-4 April 2017. 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 activity at Fuego increased on 1 April, with the beginning of a new effusive eruption, the third one in 2017. Explosions occurring an average of 10 per hour generated shock waves that vibrated local structures. An ash plume rose an estimated 1.3 km and drifted 10 km W, SW, and S; weather clouds hindered observations. Later that day lava fountains rose 100-300 m high and fed lava flows that traveled 400 m down the Trinidad (S) and Las Lajas (SE) drainages. The effusive phase lasted about 16 hours, ending on 2 April, with lava flows stopping as far as 3 km, and expanding into the Santa Teresa (W) drainage. Ash plumes drifted as far as 80 km W, causing ashfall in areas downwind including Atitlan Lake, Chicacao, Mazatenango, Retalhuleu, and El Palmar. On 4 April explosions generated ash plumes that rose 750 km and drifted S, and avalanches pf material descended the Ceniza 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.