Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 14 September-20 September 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 September-20 September 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 September-20 September 2011. 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 13-14 September explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 800 m above the crater. The explosions occasionally produced shock waves detected 7 km away. Incandescence at night emanated from the crater and from avalanches on the flanks. During 15-16 September cloud cover prevented observations of the crater but explosions were heard. Block avalanches descended the flanks and an ash plume drifted 7 km W. During 19-20 September explosions produced ash plumes that rose 500 m above the crater and drifted W.
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.