Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 13 December-19 December 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 December-19 December 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, 13 December-19 December 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 14 December. Vulcanian explosions generated ash plumes that rose 1.7 km above the crater and drifted 15 km NW, N, and NE. Ashfall was reported in San Miguel Dueñas, Alotenango (8 km ENE), and Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE). Explosions caused rumbling noises and shock waves that rattled nearby structures. The high level of activity continued during 14-15 December with 5-8 explosions per hour causing shock waves and rumbling. Ash plumes rose 1.2 km and drifted 20 km W and SW, and incandescent material was ejected 200-250 m above the crater. Ash fell in Panimaché I (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and El Porvenir. Explosions occurred at a rate of 4-6 per hour during 16-19 December, and weak shock waves were generated. Ash plumes rose as high as 1 km and drifted 12-15 km W and SW, causing ashfall in areas downwind including Panimaché I and II, Morelia, Santa Sofia, Sangre de Cristo, Palo Verde farm, and Yepocapa. Incandescent material was ejected 150-200 m above the crater.
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.