Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 29 December-4 January 2011
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 December-4 January 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Fuego (Guatemala) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 December-4 January 2011. 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 29-30 December explosions from Fuego, almost constant at times, produced dense ash plumes that rose 600-800 m above the crater and drifted 8 km W and SW. Avalanches occurred on the flanks. The Washington VAAC reported that several small emissions observed in satellite imagery drifted W on 1 January. INSIVUMEH noted that during 3-4 January explosions generated ash plumes that rose 800-1,000 m above the crater and fanned out towards the S and SW. The plumes drifted almost 15 km and caused ashfall in areas downwind, including Panimaché (6 km SW), Morelia (7 km SW), and Santa Sofia (12 km SW). Incandescence from the crater was observed at night.
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.