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Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — December 1996


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 12 (December 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Fuego (Guatemala) A white-to-gray smoke column seen rising over the crater

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Fuego (Guatemala) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199612-342090



14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 12-19 November a white-to-gray column was observed rising 70-200 m above the crater; winds then dispersed it to the S over the volcano's flanks. On 20 November the column rose to 500 m and drifted E; the following day the column's height was 200 m and oriented SW. From 25 November to 12 December the column was again at 50-200 m height and blown toward the S and SW. During this observation period the Fuego-Acatenango seismic network recorded a few earthquakes up to M 1.

Geological Summary. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is also one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between Fuego and Acatenango to the north. 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 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.

Information Contacts: Otoniel Matías, Seccion Vulcanologia, INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia e Hydrologia of the Ministerio de Communicaciones, Transporte y Obras Publicas), 7A Avenida 14-57, Zona 13, Guatemala City, Guatemala.