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Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 21 December-27 December 2005


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
21 December-27 December 2005
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2005. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 December-27 December 2005. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (21 December-27 December 2005)



14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

On 27 December an eruption at Fuego produced an ash plume to a height of ~7.6 km (25,000 ft) a.s.l. that extended SSW and SSE of the volcano. The higher level ash (~7.6 km a.s.l.) drifted W to Honduras, while ash below ~6.1 km (20,000 ft) a.s.l. drifted E to the Pacific coast. According to news articles, two lava flows that were both ~2 km long traveled down the volcano's flanks, but posed no threat to inhabited areas. Articles also reported that about 25,000 local residents were put on alert, and emergency teams said that there was no immediate need for evacuations.

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.

Sources: Reuters, Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)