Report on Fuego (Guatemala) — 10 May-16 May 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 May-16 May 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, 10 May-16 May 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 a range of 1-7 weak explosions per hour were recorded at Fuego during 10-16 May. The explosions generated ash plumes that rose to a maximum height of 850 m above the crater and drifted up to 12 km E, SE, S, and SW. Occasional weak avalanches of material were visible near the crater. During 9-10 May wind entrained loose ash that was deposited along the Ceniza, Las Lajas, and Seca drainages. On 12 May a minor lahar descended the Ceniza drainage, carrying branches, tree trunks, and volcanic blocks up to 1.5 m in diameter. Minor incandescent over the crater was visible overnight during 12-13 and 15-16 May. Wind entrained ash deposits during 15-16 May causing localized “curtains” of ash.
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.