Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 21 December-27 December 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
21 December-27 December 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 December-27 December 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 21-27 December explosions from Fuego generated ash plumes that rose 200-800 m above the crater; the plumes drifted 10-12 km W, NW, SW, and S during 21-23 and 26-27 December. During 21-23 and 26-27 December explosions generated shock waves and rumbling sounds that were detected 12 km away. House windows and roofs vibrated in nearby villages on 27 December. Incandescence emanated from the crater at night, and avalanches traveled SW into the Taniluyá and Ceniza drainages, and S in the Santa Teresa drainage. Based on satellite observations, the Washington VAAC reported that a gas plume with possible ash drifted 9 km S on 24 December.
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.