Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 27 March-2 April 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 March-2 April 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, 27 March-2 April 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 during 28-29 March there were 14-20 explosion per hour recorded at Fuego, with ash plumes rising as high as 1.1 km above the summit and drifting 15-25 km W, SW, and S. Shock waves vibrated nearby structures. Incandescent material was ejected 200-300 m high and caused avalanches of material that traveled down the the Seca (W), Ceniza (SSW), Taniluyá (SW), Trinidad (S), and Las Lajas (SE) drainages. Ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Panimache I (8 km SW), Morelia (8 km SW), Santa Sofia (12 km SE), La Rochela, and San Andrés Osuna. A special bulletin issued on 29 March stated that activity has increased with ash plumes from explosions rising as high as 1.3 km and drifting 30 km in multiple directions. Avalanches of material traveled down the Las Lajas, Honda and Seca drainages.
A special bulletin was issued on 31 March describing another increase in activity with the number of explosions ranging from 14 to 32 per hour. Ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km and drifted W, SW, and S. The explosions vibrated local residences. A lava flow that had emerged in the early morning hours advanced 800 m in the Seca drainage. On 1 April there were 13-16 explosions recorded per hour. Ash plumes rose almost 1 km and drifted 10-15 km S, SE, and SW. Shock waves continued to vibrate residential structures. Incandescent material was ejected 100-200 m high and caused avalanches of material that occasionally traveled long distances down Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Honda ravines, reaching vegetation. Ashfall as reported in areas downwind including Panimache I, Morelia, Palo Verde Estate, Santa Sofia, La Rochela, and San Andrés Osuna.
Geologic Background. 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.