Activity at Guatemala's Fuego volcano significantly increased late February 7, 2015 when series of strombolian-type explosions sent water vapor and ash up to 6 km into the air and temporarily closed international La Aurora airport.
Moderate ashfall was reported as far as Antiqua and Guatemala City; residents were urged to use masks or wet cloth to guard against breathing dangerous contaminants. Government issued Orange alert (second highest) and evacuated about 100 people.
The eruption started around 19:15 UTC and was characterized by increased strombolian-type explosions, effusion of lava flows and moderate to large pyroclastic flows that traveled to the southeastern side threatening the road between Antigua and Escuintla.
Two lava flows have reached up to 2000 meters in length in the directions of Trinidad and El Jute, causing forest fires. Several pyroclastic flows were generated by partial collapses of the lava masses from the upper slopes and traveled several kilometers, VolcanoDiscovery explains.
On Sunday, February 8, INSIVUMEH reported that activity is finally decreasing after 21 hours but fine ash can still reach distances of 20 km NW from the crater.
Continuous explosions can still be heard to over 15 km in the the S and SW flanks of the volcanic complex.
Video courtesy of VolcanoDiscovery
Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. 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 Acatenango.
In contrast to 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.