Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 9 April-15 April 2014
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 April-15 April 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, 9 April-15 April 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 9-10 April seismic activity at Fuego increased, along with the number and magnitude of explosions. Ash plumes rose 850 m above the crater and drifted 10 km W and SW. Explosions were heard in areas up to 15 km away and shock waves were detected 8 km away. At night incandescent blocks in the Santa Teresa (S), Ceniza (SSW), and Trinidad (S) drainages were noted. During 10-11 April explosions produced ash plumes that rose 500-800 m and drifted 8-10 km W and SW, and caused structures to vibrate in local towns. In a special report from 11 April INSIVUMEH noted that activity had increased. Ash plumes rose as high as 1.1 km and drifted 12 km W. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind, including Panimaché (8 km SW) and Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW). Avalanches descended the Trinity drainage. Activity continued during 13-14 April though cloud cover prevented visual observations; explosions generated shock waves, and sounds resembling avalanches on the S and SW flanks were reported. During 14-15 April explosions produced ash plumes that rose 760 m and drifted 10 km W and SW. Shock waves were detected in areas within 10 km and explosions were heard within 15 km. At night incandescent blocks in the Santa Teresa (S), Ceniza (SSW), and Trinidad (S) drainages were again noted.
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.