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Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — November 1977


Natural Science Event Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 11 (November 1977)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Fuego (Guatemala) Increased activity continues through mid-November

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1977. Report on Fuego (Guatemala) (Squires, D., ed.). Natural Science Event Bulletin, 2:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.NSEB197711-342090



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Increased activity was continuing in mid-November. Only occasional observation of the volcano has been possible because of heavy cloud cover. 29 October: Weak ejection of incandescent material at 2230; no hot avalanches observed. 3 November: Emission of large volumes of steam under considerable pressure. 5 November: Moderate steam emission from the summit crater and a thin, 60 m high steam column issued from a vent high on the NE flank. 7-9 November: Weak steaming from both vents 7 November, increased slightly on the 8th. Ash ejection 9 November was mainly from the summit crater. 12 November: Steam and ash emission from the summit crater and steaming from the NE vent. 13 November: Intermittent 250-300 m steam and ash clouds from the summit crater during the day. Between 1915 and 1930, bright red incandescent material was ejected. 14 November: Steaming during the morning, succeeded by intermittent ejection of dark gray and black ash in the afternoon. 15 November: Steam emission from the summit crater, and clouds of steam from the upper portion of a canyon on the E flank, possibly from a fresh hot avalanche deposit. 16 November: Weak felt earthquake at 1455, accompanied by noise. 17 November: Intermittent bursts of dark gray and black ash from the main crater visible during the morning.

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: P. Newton, Antigua.