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Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 21 September-27 September 2016


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 September-27 September 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Fuego (Guatemala) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 September-27 September 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (21 September-27 September 2016)



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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

INSIVUMEH reported that during 23-26 September lava fountains rose as high as 200 m above Fuego’s crater rim, and lava flows traveled 3.5 km SE in the Las Lajas drainage. Explosions occurring at a rate of 3-4 per hour produced ash plumes that rose 450-850 m and drifted 8-12 km E, S, SW, and W. On 26 September a 10-m-wide and 1-m-deep lahar, triggered by heavy rain in the area, descended the Santa Teresa (W) drainage, a tributary of the Pantaleón river. The lahar carried blocks 50 cm in diameter, branches, and tree trunks. Moderate to large explosions generated ash plumes that rose 1.2 km and drifted 20 km W and SW. Lava fountains rose 200-300 m and fed two lava flows; the first traveled 1.5 km down the Las Lajas drainage and the second traveled 1.8 km down the Santa Teresa drainage. Avalanches originated from a degassing fissure on the S flank. Ashfall was reported in areas on the W and SW flank, including the Palo Verde finca, Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), and Yepocapa (8 km NW).

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.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)