Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 24 March-30 March 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
24 March-30 March 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 March-30 March 2021. 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 6-11 explosions per hour were recorded during 24-30 March at Fuego, generating ash plumes that rose to 4.7 km (15,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, NW, and SW as far as 10-15 km. Shock waves rattled buildings near the volcano. Block avalanches descended the Seca (W), Ceniza (SSW), and Trinidad (S) drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Ash plumes from explosions rose to 4.8 (16,000 ft) km a.s.l. and drifted N and NE on 25 March and W on 27 March far as 15-20 km, resulting in ashfall in Morelia (9 km SW), Panimache (8 km SW), Yucales (12 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Yepocapa (8 km NW), La Soledad (11 km N). Block avalanches descended the Taniluyá (SW), Las Lajas (SE), and Honda drainages, in addition to those affected on 24 March. Weak crater incandescence was observed at night and in the early morning during 26 March. Incandescent material was ejected 100-200 m above the summit on 28 March, accompanied by ash plumes that rose to 4.8 km a.s.l. and resulted in ashfall in Palo Verde, Panimaché II, Sangre de Cristo, Yepocapa, and El Porvenir (8 km ENE).
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.