Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 9 December-15 December 2009
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 December-15 December 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, 9 December-15 December 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 11, 14, and 15 December, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.1-4.7 km (13,500-15,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 8-12 km W and SW. Incandescence from the main crater and rumbling noises were noted. Avalanches descended the S and W flanks. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 12 December a gas-and-ash plume drifted 20 km W. On 15 December, ashfall was reported in areas SW.
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.