Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 6 December-12 December 2000
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 December-12 December 2000
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2000. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 December-12 December 2000. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
The Washington VAAC reported that a small eruption at approximately 1645 on 9 December sent ash to ~ 4 km a.s.l. (near-summit level). The small ash cloud drifted to the W and NW, was initially dense, and rapidly dissipated so that it was no longer visible on satellite imagery by 2345. Throughout the day, occasional strong hot spots were visible on GOES-8 multi-spectral imagery. According to the Washington VAAC, on the evening of 9 December a volcanologist with INSIVUMEH in Guatemala stated that Fuego had shown increased instability with several explosions. The last reported eruption of Fuego sent ash to ~4 km a.s.l on 29 August 2000.
Geologic Background. Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. 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 Acatenango. In contrast to 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.