Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 2 March-8 March 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
2 March-8 March 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 March-8 March 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH noted that the fourth episode of effusive activity at Fuego for 2016 had begun on 29 February and lasted for about 48 hours. At the beginning of the episode, ash plumes rose as high as 1.3 km and drifted 15 km S and SW, and lava fountains rose 100-150 m above the crater. In a special report on 2 March, INSIVUMEH noted that explosions persisted even though seismicity had declined. Explosions, detected 25 km away, produced ash plumes that rose 2.3 km above the crater and drifted 40 km W and NW. Ash fell in Sangre de Cristo, Morelia, Panimaché I and II, and Yepocapa. A 3-km-long lava flow advanced in the Honda ravine. Later that day, at 1930, INSIVUMEH stated that the effusive episode had ended. Weak explosions generated ash plumes that rose 750 m and drifted 10 km WNW. During 3 and 5-6 March explosions continued, producing ash plumes that rose as high as 550 m and drifted 8-10 km W, SW, and SE.
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.