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Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 3 May-9 May 2017


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
3 May-9 May 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 May-9 May 2017. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (3 May-9 May 2017)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

In a special report INSIVUMEH reported that a new phase of activity (the fourth of the year) at Fuego began on 5 May and was the strongest activity recorded since 2012. Strong explosions, sometimes producing shock waves, generated dense ash plumes that rose 1.3 km above the crater and drifted more than 50 km S, SW, and W. Ashfall was reported in many areas downwind, including San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km N), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), finca Palo Verde, Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa (23 km SW), Siquinala, San Andrés Osuna, Chuchu, and La Reunión. Lava flows traveled 2 km down the Santa Teresa (W) drainage and 3 km down the Las Lajas drainage. Pyroclastic flows descended the Trinidad (S), Las Lajas (SE), Ceniza (S), and Santa Teresa drainages. Residents of Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW) were evacuated. Explosions were not reported that next day and the lava flows may have stopped advancing. According to a news article, about 300 people had been evacuated from Panimache (8 km SW). During 7-8 May lower-energy explosions generated ash plumes that rose as high as 750 m above the crater and drifted 8-20 km W and SW. Gases were observed rising from pyroclastic flow deposits in the ravines.

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: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Daily News and Analysis