Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 19 March-25 March 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 March-25 March 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 March-25 March 2014. 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 20-21 March explosions at Fuego produced ash plumes that rose 500-800 m above the crater and drifted 9-10 km W. Incandescent material was ejected 200 m high. Later on 21 March seismicity increased. The number of explosions also increased to 7-9 moderate to strong explosions per hour. Ash plumes rose 750-950 m and drifted 15 km WSW. Shock waves vibrated structures in areas 8 km away, including Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Panimaché (8 km SW), and Morelia (9 km SW). During 22-23 March explosions generated ash plumes that rose 500-800 m and drifted 10-12 km S and SW. Incandescent material was ejected 200 m high. Ashfall was reported in Santa Sofía, Panimaché, Panimaché II (8 km SW), and Morelia. On 25 March INSIVUMEH noted that activity remained high; 8-14 explosions per hour generated ash plumes that rose 850-1,050 m and drifted 12 km W and SW. Ashfall was reported in Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW) and surrounding areas. Explosions again vibrated structures in Santa Sofía, Panimaché, Panimaché II, and Morelia.
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.