Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 29 August-4 September 2018
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 August-4 September 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, 29 August-4 September 2018. 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 heavy rain generated lahars during 29 August-1 September that descended Fuego’s El Jute (SE), Las Lajas (SE), Cenizas (SSW), Taniluyá (SW), Seca (W), Mineral, Honda, and Pantaleón (W) drainages. The lahars were hot, had a sulfur odor, and carried tree branches and blocks (2-3 m in diameter). On 1 September lahars disrupted roads between San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW) and Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and from Finca Palo Verde and El Porvenir (8 km ENE). During 2-4 September explosions produced ash plumes that rose as high as 950 m above the crater rim and drifted 10-15 km W and SW. Avalanches of incandescent material were confined to the crater. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including San Pedro Yepocapa, Sangre de Cristo, Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Morelia (9 km SW), and Finca Palo Verde.
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.