Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 13 February-19 February 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 February-19 February 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 February-19 February 2013. 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 14-15 February white plumes rose 150 m above Fuego's crater and drifted W and NW. The lava flow traveled 500 m SSW down the Ceniza drainage and produced avalanches. Activity increased on the night of 16 February and was characterized by explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lava flows. A pyroclastic flow traveled 3 km down the Ceniza drainage. Ash plumes drifted 20 km W and SW, and produced ashfall in Panimache I and Panimache II (8 KM SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and Yepocapa (8 km WNW). On 17 February collapses from the lava-flow fronts and pyroclastic flows were observed. Ash plumes rose 3 km and drifted 10 km W and SW. Seismicity decreased. According to the Washington VAAC ash plumes detected in satellite imagery drifted 19 km W, 10 km SW, and 5 km S. INSIVUMEH noted that lava effusion continued and ash fell on the flanks. On 18 February an explosion generated an ash plume that rose 2 km above the crater and drifted 10 km NE. Two other explosions produced ash plumes that rose 500-800 m. Avalanches traveled S and 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.