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Strongest eruption since 2012 at Fuego, alert raised, pyroclastic flows, ashfall reported

fuego-volcano-eruption-may-5-2017

Guatemala's Fuego volcano erupted at 13:15 UTC on May 5, 2017, producing pyroclastic flows and ejecting thick volcanic ash cloud to an estimated altitude of 5 km (16 405 feet) above sea level. INSIVUMEH is describing it as one of the strongest eruptions in recent years, recommending CONRED to raise the alert level to Orange.

In a special bulletin released 17:00 UTC on May 5, INSIVUMEH said volcanic ash cloud is moving more than 50 km (31 miles) to the south, southwest and west, generating ashfall in San Pedro Yepocapa, Morelia, Santa Sofía, El Porvenir, Palo Verde and others on this side, like Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa, Siquinala, San Andres Osuna, Chuchu and La Reunión. 

Fuego volcano - eruption on May 5, 2017 - Ash dispersion

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – Eruption on May 5, 2017 – Ash dispersion. Credit: INSIVUMEH

Ash is being produced by pyroclastic flows down the Trinidad, Las Lajas, Ceniza and Santa Teresa drainages.

This is the strongest eruption since 2012, INSIVUMEH said and added it forced the evacuation of the village of Sangre de Cristo (population 300), located on the west flank. 

The agency warned that large quantities of volcanic material are being deposited, raising a threat of lahars in the coming days.

As per INSIVUMEH's recommendation, CONRED raised the volcano alert level to Orange and activated Emergency Operations Center in communities near the volcano.

The volcano is expelling ballistic material within a radius 5 km (3.1 miles). Travel agencies and tourists are warned not to approach the volcano.

Fuego volcano, Guatemala - eruption on May 5, 2017

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala - eruption on May 5, 2017

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017 – ashfall. Credit: CONRED

Fuego volcano, Guatemala - eruption on May 5, 2017

Fuego volcano, Guatemala – eruption on May 5, 2017 – ashfall. Credit: CONRED

Geological summary

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 3 763 m (12 345.8 feet) 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. The collapse of Meseta may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km (31 miles) 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. (GVP)

Featured image: Pyroclastic flows at Fuego, Guatemala on May 5, 2017. Credit: CONRED

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