Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 1 February-7 February 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 February-7 February 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, 1 February-7 February 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 1-3 and on 6 February explosions from Fuego generated ash plumes that rose 400-900 m above the crater; the plumes drifted about 12 km S and SW on 1 February and to the SSW during 2-3 February. On 1 February rumbling noises were heard, incandescence material rose as high as 100 m above the crater, and block avalanches descended the S flank. A new 200-m-long lava flow descended the SW flank into the Taniluya drainage and block avalanches reached vegetation during 2-3 February. On 6 February the lava flow descended towards the Ceniza drainage and block avalanches again reached vegetation. Strong winds caused re-suspended ash to rise 1 km high and drift several kilometers W and S during 1-3 February.
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.