Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 1 September-7 September 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
1 September-7 September 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 1 September-7 September 2021. 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 7-15 explosions per hour were recorded during 31 August-7 September at Fuego, generating ash plumes as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and shock waves that often rattled buildings around the volcano. Ash plumes mostly drifted as far as 15 km SW, W, NW, and N, causing daily ashfall in several areas downwind, including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Yucales (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Finca Palo Verde, Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW). Block avalanches descended the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), Las Lajas (SE), and Honda drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Explosions ejected incandescent material 100-350 m above the summit on most days. On 1 September lahars descended the SE, S, and SW flanks (the Las Lajas, El Jute, and Seca drainages), carrying fine material along with tree branches and blocks 2 m in diameter. Lahars descended the El Jute, Las Lajas, and Ceniza drainages during 6-7 September.
Geological Summary. 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.