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Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 8 January-14 January 2003


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
8 January-14 January 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 January-14 January 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (8 January-14 January 2003)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The Washington VAAC reported that an eruption began at Fuego on 8 January around 0500. According to INSIVUMEH, as of 1100 that day the eruption continued with ash explosions and lava flow emission. A steam-and-ash column rose 5.7 km a.s.l. and drifted to the W. In addition, two small-to-moderate pyroclastic flows traveled down the drainage of the Santa Teresa River Valley. CONRED stated that the Alert Level was raised to Orange and several people were evacuated from the town of Sangre de Cristo. According to a news report volcanism decreased the following day, so the Alert Level was lowered from Orange to Yellow.

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.

Sources: Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), EFE News Service, Prensa Libre, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)