Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 29 February-6 March 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 February-6 March 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, 29 February-6 March 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 1-2 March explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 600 m above the crater and drifted 15 km W and SW. Ashfall was reported in Yepocapa (W), Sangre de Cristo (W), and Panimache II (SW). Some explosions produced rumbling and degassing sounds. A 300-m-long lava flow descended the SW flank and produced block avalanches that reached vegetated areas. On 4 March the number of explosions increased to about 4-5 per hour. Explosions generated ash plumes that rose 600 m above the crater and drifted 12 km SSW. Rumbling sounds were heard 7 km away.
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.