Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 18 August-24 August 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
18 August-24 August 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, 18 August-24 August 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 6-13 explosions per hour were recorded during 18-25 August at Fuego, though the weather sometimes prevented visual confirmation. The resulting ash plumes rose to 4.5-4.8 km (14,800-15,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted as far as 15 km W, SW, S, and NW, causing daily ashfall downwind in Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Yucales (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), and Yepocapa (8 km NW). White gas-and-steam plumes rose to 4.5 km (14,764 ft) a.s.l. on 19 and 25 August. Shock waves often rattled buildings around the volcano as far as 15 km from the summit. Block avalanches accompanied the explosions, descending the Santa Teresa, Ceniza (SSW), Taniluyá (SW), Trinidad (S), Seca (W), Las Lajas (SE), and Honda drainages, sometimes reaching vegetated areas. Incandescent ejecta was visible rising 100-400 m above the summit during the nights and early mornings of 20-23 August.
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.