Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 4 February-10 February 2004
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 February-10 February 2004
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 February-10 February 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Explosions at Fuego on 8 February produced incandescent avalanches that traveled toward the Seca (to the W), Trinidad, and Taniluyá (to the SW) ravines. Several moderate-to-strong explosions on 9 February produced ash-and-gas plumes that rose to heights of 800-1,500 m above the volcano and drifted W and S. Ash fell as far as 15 km from the volcano, including in the town of Sangre de Cristo and in several ranches (locally termed fincas) in the area. According to the Washington VAAC, on 9 and 10 February small ash plumes were visible on satellite imagery.
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.