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Volcan de Fuego Eruption, Guatemala: A Little History

Volcan de Fuego Eruption, Guatemala: A Little History
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On Thursday, September 13, 2012, Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego erupted, forcing at least 33,000 people in 17 communities to evacuate their homes (as of Sept 13: 9:50 pm and Sept 14:7:45 am Pacific time [Arce and Ruiz-Goiriena 2012a,b]). The facts will change as the eruption continues and more information comes to light. However, I thought I’d share a little background about it. Note: Most of the background comes from Volcano Discovery’s Fuego info page at http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/guatemala/fuego.html. It’s an awesome website with information, maps, and photographs.

Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire)

  • Volcan de Fuego is located six miles (ten kilometers [km]) from Antigua (means ancient [Arce and Ruiz-Goiriena 2012a]).
  • Volcan de Fuego is located 25 miles (40 km) southwest of Guatemala City (Guatemala’s capital [McDonald 2012]).
  • It is one of three stratovolcanoes that overlook Antigua (Volcano Discovery 2012a).
  • Volcan de Fuego is one of the most active volcanoes in the world (Volcano Discovery 2012a).
  • Eruptions of Volcan de Fuego have been reported since A.D. 1524. Although there are a few decades-long breaks, they almost occur every few years, even yearly (Volcano Discovery 2012a).
  • Growth of Volcan de Fuego grew from the crater of the ancient volcano Meseta. Meseta collapsed 8,500 years ago after it blew itself up (Volcano Discovery 2012a).
  • The last major eruption of Volcan de Fuego occurred in 1974 (Volcano Discovery 2012a).

September 13 Eruption

  • Two lava flows, accompanied by pyroclastic flows of hot rock and ash, are flowing down the mountain (McDonald 2012 [as of Sept. 13 afternoon).
    • The lava flows were bright orange (Arce and Ruiz-Goiriena 2012b).
  • Smoke and ash spewed 2 miles (3 km) into the air (McDonald 2012).
    • Ash blackened the sky and blanketed sugar cane fields (Arce and Ruiz-Goiriena 2012b).
  • This eruption followed a smaller one, which seemed to start September 3. On September 5, that particular eruption reportedly stopped (Volcano Discovery 2012b).
  • It also follows repeated small eruptions, that occurred in August (Volcano Discovery 2012b).

Photo Link (via the Guardian)

References

Arce, Alberto and Romina Ruiz-Goiriena

2012a   Guatemala Volcano Erupts, Forcing 33,000 to Evacuate Homes. Christian Science Monitor (published online September 13, 2012). Electronic document, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0913/Guatemala-volcano-erupts-forcing-33-000-to-evacuate-homes, accessed September 13, 2012.

2012b Guatemala Volcano Forces 17 Villages to be Evacuated. Christian Science Monitor (published online September 14, 2012). Electronic document, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2012/0914/Guatemala-volcano-forces-17-villages-to-be-evacuated, accessed September 14, 2012.

McDonald, Mike

2012   Guatemala Volcano Erupts, Thousands Evacuated. SwissInfo.ch (published online September 13, 2012). Electronic document, http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news/international/Guatemala_volcano_erupts,_thousands_being_evacuated.html?cid=33515470, accessed September 13, 2012.

Volcano Discovery

2012a Fuego Volcano, Guatemala (Central America) – Facts & Information. Volcano Discovery (updated online September 13, 2012). Electronic document, http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/guatemala/fuego.html, accessed September 13, 2012.

2012b   Fuego Volcano (Guatemala): Paroxysm Has Ended After 32 Hours. Volcano Discovery (published online September 5, 2012 – earlier reports visible on same page). Electronic document, http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/fuego/news/15071/The-Fuego-volcano-eruption-has-ended.html, accessed September 13, 2012. NOTE: This website has a lot of great information about Volcan de Fuego and other volcanoes.

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Volcan de Fuego Eruption, Guatemala: A Little History by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


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