Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 22 February-28 February 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 February-28 February 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Fuego (Guatemala) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 February-28 February 2023. 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 4-10 explosions per hour were recorded at Fuego during 22-28 February, generating ash plumes that rose as high as 1.1 km above the crater rim and drifted as far as 30 km NW, W, and SW. Weather clouds often prevented visual observations on 22 February. Explosions ejected incandescent material 100-400 m above the summit each day, and daily shock waves rattled structures in communities around the volcano. Daily block avalanches descended various drainages including the Ceniza (SSW), Seca (W), Trinidad (S), Taniluyá (SW), Honda, Las Lajas (SE), and El Jute (ESE), and often reached vegetated areas. Ashfall was recorded almost daily in areas downwind including Morelia (9 km SW), Panimaché I and II (8 km SW), Santa Sofía (12 km SW), Sangre de Cristo (8 km WSW), El Porvenir (8 km ENE), San Pedro Yepocapa (8 km NW), Finca la Asunción, Finca Palo Verde, and La Soledad (11 km N).
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.