Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 10 April-16 April 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 April-16 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, 10 April-16 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 10-11 April steaming lahars descended Fuego’s Las Lajas (SE), El Jute (SE), Ceniza (SSW), and Taniluyá (SW) drainages, carrying blocks up to 3 m in diameter, and branches and tree trunks. On 11 April lahars were 3 m deep and 20 m wide. During 11-15 April there were 12-22 explosions per hour, generating ash plumes that rose almost 1.1 km and drifted10-15 km N, NE, E, and W. Minor ashfall was reported in areas downwind including Alotenango, Ciudad Vieja (13.5 km NE), La Réunion, Yepocapa (8 km N), Morelia (9 km SW), Santa Sofia (12 km SW), and Panimache (8 km SW). Shock waves sometimes vibrated residential structures. Incandescent material was ejected 100-300 m high and caused avalanches of material that occasionally traveled long distances down Seca, Taniluyá, Ceniza, Trinidad, Las Lajas, and Honda ravines. A lava flow, 400-500 m long, advanced in the Seca drainage.
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.