Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 9 March-15 March 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 March-15 March 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 March-15 March 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 10 March INSIVUMEH reported a new phase of activity at Fuego characterized by Vulcanian explosions, and ash plumes that rose 650 m and drifted E. Strong shock waves and rumbling sounds were detected 10 km away. During 10-11 March explosions generated ash plumes that rose 650-950 m and drifted E and NE. Incandescent material was ejected as high as 200 m and caused avalanches in the Trinidad (S) and Taniluyá (SW) drainages. Cloud cover prevented visual observations during 12-13 March; shock waves were detected. During 14-15 March explosions produced ash plumes that rose 450-750 m and drifted 8-10 km SW, W, and NW. Incandescent material was ejected as high as 150 m.
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.