Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 7 January-13 January 2009
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 January-13 January 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 January-13 January 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH reported that during 8-9 January, multiple explosions (3-5 per hour) from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.3-5.4 km (14,100-17,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 10-15 km S and SW. The explosions produced rumbling sounds and shock waves that were detected 10-15 km away. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind. Constant avalanches of blocks descended the S and SW flanks. Based on analysis of satellite imagery and information from the Tegucigalpa MWO, the Washington VAAC reported that on 10 January a diffuse plume drifted W.
Geologic Background. 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.