Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 11 January-17 January 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 January-17 January 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 January-17 January 2012. 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 11-13 and on 16 January explosions from Fuego generated ash plumes that rose 400-1,000 m above the crater; the plumes drifted 10-15 km in multiple directions. Explosions generated shock waves and rumbling sounds that were detected to the SW, and windows and roofs vibrated in nearby villages. Avalanches traveled SW into the Ceniza drainage and on the W, S, and SW flanks. At night on 13 and 16 January incandescence emanated from the crater.
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.