Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 13 June-19 June 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 June-19 June 2018
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2018. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 June-19 June 2018. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 13-19 June INSIVUMEH and CONRED reported that strong lahars at Fuego were often hot, steaming, and had a sulfur odor, and were generated from heavy rains and the recent accumulation of pyroclastic-flow deposits from the 3 June events. Lahars descended the Cenizas (SSW), Las Lajas (SE), Mineral, Santa Teresa (W), El Gobernador, and Taniluyá (SW) drainages. They were 20-45 m wide, as deep as 3 m, and often carried blocks up to 3 m in diameter, tree trunks, and branches. On 14 June lahars disrupted communication in the communities of Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofia (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Yucales, and Sangré de Cristo (8 km WSW), all of Yepocapa (8 km N), and Chimaltenango (21 km NNE), requiring assistance from the Army. Water levels in the Pantaleón River began to rapidly rise in the afternoon of 17 June.
During 16-19 June as many as seven explosions per hour produced ash plumes that rose as high as 1.2 km above the crater and drifted as far as 15 km W, SW, and S. Some explosions were heard in areas within a 10-km radius. Avalanches of material descended the Santa Teresa, Las Lajas, and Cenizas drainages during 17-18 June, producing ash plumes, and ashfall in Panimache, Morelia, Sangre de Cristo, and finca Palo Verde. According to CONRED, as of 19 June, the number of people confirmed to have died due to the 3 June pyroclastic flows remained at 110, and 197 more were missing. In addition, 12,823 people had been evacuated.
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.