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Open-File Report 01-431

Volcano Hazards at Fuego and Acatenango, Guatemala

By J.W. Vallance, S.P. Schilling, O. Matías, W.I. Rose, and M.M Howell

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (614 kB)Summary

The Fuego-Acatenango massif comprises a string of five or more volcanic vents along a north-south trend that is perpendicular to that of the Central American arc in Guatemala. From north to south known centers of volcanism are Ancient Acatenango, Yepocapa, Pico Mayor de Acatenango, Meseta, and Fuego. Volcanism along the trend stretches back more than 200,000 years. Although many of the centers have been active contemporaneously, there is a general sequence of younger volcanism, from north to south along the trend. This massive volcano complex towers more than 3500 meters (m) above the Pacific coastal plain to the south and 2000 m above the Guatemalan Highlands to the north. The volcano complex comprises remnants of multiple eruptive centers, which periodically have collapsed to form huge debris avalanches. The largest of these avalanches extended more than 50 kilometers (km) from its source and covered more than 300 square km. The volcano has potential to produce huge debris avalanches that could inundate large areas of the Pacific coastal plain. In areas around the volcanoes and downslope toward the coastal plain, more than 100,000 people are potentially at risk from these and other flowage phenomena.

First posted November 20, 2013

For additional information:
Contact CVO 
Volcano Science Center, Cascades Volcano Observatory 
U.S. Geological Survey 
1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100 
Vancouver, WA 98683-9589

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Suggested citation:

Vallance, J.W., Schilling, S.P., Matías, O., Rose, W.I., and Howell, M.M, 2001, Volcano Hazards at Fuego and Acatenango, Guatemala: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-431, 24 pp. 4 plates,



Volcanic Phenomena

Past Events at Fuego and Acatenango Volcanoes

Potential Future Activity at Fuego Volcano

Potential Future Activity at Acatenango Volcano

Volcano-Hazard-Zonation Maps

Hazard Forecasts and Warnings

Protecting Communities and Citizens from Volcano-Related Hazards


Additional Suggested Reading

Four plates

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