Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 30 January-5 February 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 January-5 February 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 January-5 February 2019. 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 10-18 explosions per hour were detected at Fuego during 29-31 January. Ash plumes from the explosions rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and drifted E and NE. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Alotenango, Antigua Guatemala (18 km NE), and Guatemala City (70 km E). Incandescent material was ejected 300 m high and caused avalanches of material that traveled down Seca (W), Ceniza (SSW), Trinidad (S), and Las Lajas (SE) ravines. During 31January-1 February there were 14-16 explosions recorded per hour, with ash plumes rising as high as 1.1 km and drifting 20-25 km S and SE. Ash fell in the communities of El Rodeo (10 km SSE), El Zapote, Ceilan, and La Rochela. Incandescent material rose 200-400 m high causing avalanches of material to descend the Seca, Taniluyá (SW), Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Honda (E) ravines. Shock wave causing vibration in the communities near the volcano.
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.