Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 18 May-24 May 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 May-24 May 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, 18 May-24 May 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 19 May CONRED reported that pyroclastic flows not generated by explosions had descended Fuego's flanks during the previous 12 hours. INSIVUMEH reported that during 19-22 May weak-to-moderate explosions generated ahs plumes that rose 450-750 m above the crater and drifted 7 km W, SW, and S. Incandescent material was ejected 100 m high and generated avalanches down the Las Lajas (SE), Trinidad (S), Santa Teresa (W), Ceniza (SSW), and Honda drainages. A 300-m-long lava flow was active in the Las Lajas drainage. CONRED noted that at 1800 on 22 May Fuego began its 10th Strombolian phase for 2016, characterized by a 1.5-km-long lava flow, explosions, and ash plumes that rose 1.3 km above the crater and drifted 15 km W and SW. During 23-24 May explosions produced ash plumes that rose 4.3-4.8 km and drifted 10-15 km WSW. The lava flow was active as far as 1 km.
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.