Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 14 December-20 December 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
14 December-20 December 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, 14 December-20 December 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
In a special bulletin from 20 December, INSIVUMEH reported increased activity at Fuego. Moderate to strong explosions which sometimes produced shock waves occurred at a rate of 8-13 per hour, and ash plumes rose as high as 950 m and drifted more than 15 km W, SW, and S. Incandescent material was ejected 200-300 m above the crater and landed 300 m away on the flanks. Avalanches of material descended the flanks. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Panimaché (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), and Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW).
Geological Summary. 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.