Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 9 March-15 March 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
9 March-15 March 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Fuego (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 9 March-15 March 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.473°N, 90.88°W; summit elev. 3763 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH and CONRED confirmed that pyroclastic flows at Fuego descended multiple flanks on 7 March, though those that traveled SW, S, and SE went as far as 7 km. Vegetation and crops were impacted by the farther-traveling, high-temperature pyroclastic flows as well as ashfall, based on satellite data and field reports from staff at the Observatorio Vulcanológico del Volcán de Fuego (OVFGO). A large amount of ash also fell on homes and structures.
As many as 10 explosions per hour were recorded during 8-15 March. Multiple daily ash plumes rose up to 1.3 km above the summit and drifted as far as 20 km W and SW. Ashfall was reported almost daily in areas downwind, including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), finca Palo Verde, Yepocapa (8 km NW). Shock waves from the explosions and rumbling sounds rattled local structures. Block avalanches mainly descended the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), and Las Lajas (SE) drainages, often reaching vegetated areas. Explosions ejected incandescent material up to 200-400 m above the summit during 11-14 March.
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.