Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 4 July-10 July 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 July-10 July 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 July-10 July 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH and CONRED reported relatively quiet conditions at Fuego during 4-9 July characterized mainly by gas emissions and block avalanches on the flanks. During 7-8 July there was about one explosion detected every two hours, producing diffuse ash plumes that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted SW. Block avalanches descended the Seca (W), Cenizas (SSW), and Las Lajas (SE) drainages, while lahars were present in the El Jute (SE), Las Lajas, Cenizas, Taniluyá (SW), Seca, Mineral, and Pantaleón (W) drainages. Seismicity increased on 10 July. Explosions generated ash plumes that rose 2.3 km and drifted 12 km SE, causing ashfall in Morelia (9 km SW) and Panimaché (8 km SW). According to CONRED, as of 4 July, the number of people confirmed to have died due to the 3 June pyroclastic flows was 113, and 332 remained missing.
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.