Sunday, 8 February 2015

Evacuations ordered after violent eruptions on Mount Fuego in Guatemala.

The Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia in Guatemala has ordered an evacuation of communities close to Mount Fuego, an active volcano in the south of the country, sharply increased its level of activity on Saturday 7 February 2015. The volcano began its current active phase in 2002, and has had a number of small eruptive episodes already this year, but this is he first time that Guatemalan authorities have felt the need to order an evacuation since September 2012. A number of explosions have been reported as well as an ash column rising 4.8 km above the summit of the volcano (5.6 km above sea level) and drifting to the southwest. Ash falls have been reported over a wide area, and the Dirección General de Aeronautica Civil has temporarily ordered a closure of the countries main airport. Small pyroclastic flows have also been reported near the summit of the volcano.

Falling ash from Fuego on a street market in Guatemala. Prensa Libre.

Fuego has been more-or-less constantly active at some level since records in the area began (circa 1524). It forms part of La Horqueta volcanic complex, which also includes the Acatenango volcano to the north, a complex volcano with at least five separate vents, the complex siting on the site of the ancient Meseta volcano, which is thought to have collapsed following a major volcanic episode about 8500 years ago, causing a debris flow that reached the sea, 50 km away.

The approximate location of Mount Fuego. Google Maps.

The volcanoes of Guatemala, and Central America in general, are fed by the subduction of the Cocos Plate beneath the Caribbean Plate along the Middle American Trench, which runs roughly parallel to the southwest coast of the isthmus. As the Cocos Plate sinks into the Earth, it passes under Central America, which lies on the western margin of the Caribbean Plate. As this happens it is heated by the friction and the heat of the planet's interior, causing the sinking plate to partially melt. Some of the melted material then rises through the overlying Caribbean Plate as magma, fueling the volcanoes of Central America.

See also...

The United States Geological Survey Recorded a Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake at a depth of 74.2 km in the east of Esculinta Department in southern Guatemala...


Six people are known to have died, three more are missing and seven are being treated for a variety of injuries following a landslide in the village of Joya Grande in the Department of Huehuetenango in...


Around 3000 people may need to evacuated from villages close to...


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