Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 23 May-29 May 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 May-29 May 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, 23 May-29 May 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 22-23 May explosions from Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 700 m above the crater and drifted W and SW. Explosions produced shock waves and rumbling noises, and avalanches descended the SW flank towards the Ceniza drainage. Seismic data suggested that on 25 May lava was emitted in the crater, although lava flows were not observed the previous few days. Plumes rose 2 km above the crater and drifted SE, SW, and W. Ashfall was reported in Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), Yepocapa (8 km WNW), and in the department of Chimaltenango (21 km NNE). A pyroclastic flow traveled SW down the Las Lajas drainage. During 26-29 May explosions produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the crater and drifted N, NE, S, and SE. A lava flow traveled 200 m SW and avalanches from the lava-flow front traveled 300 m during 26-27 May. Pulses of incandescence 100 m high were observed during 28-29 May.
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.