Volcano activity of September 13, 2012 - Fuego volcano, Guatemala shows a strong eruption

This (almost) daily post intends to follow up the activity changes of volcanoes all over the world.
This post is written by geologist Richard Wilson who specializes in Volcano seismicity and Armand Vervaeck. Please feel free to tell us about new or changed activity if we haven't written about it. -

September 13, 2012 volcano activity

Fuego volcano, Guatemala makes 10,000 people to evacuate
The rising tremor we saw yesterday at Guatemalan volcanoes Fuego (station FG3) and Santa Maria (STG6) culminated in explosive outbursts at both overnight. Pulses of tremor, now interspersed with earthquakes affect nearby Pacaya volcano today.(station PCG)
Nearly 10,000 people living in communities near the volcano have been asked by the authorities to evacuate after that volcan Fuego increased his activity today. The evacuation was ordered by the authorities when a lava flow with a length of 600 meter traveled along the slopes.
The authorities have also asked the population to drive carefully as roads are covered with ash.
Picture below, the tremendous ash cloud from the erupting Fuego volcano, active since along time, but now with a major outburst! Volcanic ash rose 1500 meter above the crater. The volcano activity level increased further and continuous explosions could be heard. Fine ash has fallen in a couple of locations near the volcano.
Although the ash cloud can wel be seen going down the slopes of the volcano, insivumeh does not talk about a pyroclastic flow. More pictures of the volcano eruption.

Image courtesy Insivumeh


Little Sitkin volcano, Alaska
18:15 UTC : This episode looks stronger than Tuesday's!  The birth pangs are coming stronger and closer together!

Alaska volcano observatory wrote yesterday : Elevated seismicity at Little Sitkin continues. Satellite views of the volcano have been cloudy the past 24 hours. AVO continues to closely monitor the situation and will issue further updates as conditions change.

Rodger Wilson writes :
I am returning to the field tomorrow, so all the volcanoes should quiet for the next three weeks (Ha!Ha!). Really!...I hope nothing eventful happens at Little Sitkin until I am able to view it in real time! Speaking of Little Sitkin, this morning's seismogram is in quite stark contrast to the one recorded two days ago. Only a few small seisms visible. (station LSSA)

A few more small local earthquakes today at Popocatepetl (Mexico), complicated by the usual technical glitch which produces a bogus repeating pattern of earthquakes on the seismogram.

San Miguel volcano (El Salvador) rumbles-on with numerous low frequency earthquakes (station VSM). The tremor-like signal at the bottom of the record is transmission static and not caused by the volcano. Seismicity is "normal" at three recently active Nicaraguan volcanoes, but note the wide variance in what is considered normal earthquake activity at each.

Telica (station TELN) San Cristobal (station CRIN) and Apoyeque (APYN).

If Nevado Del Ruiz volcano (Colombia) is returning to slumber, it's doing so fitfully as another seismic swarm (of both volcano-tectonic and low-frequency events) affects the volcano today. (station OLLZ)

Seismicity is low at Galeras volcano (station ANGV).

Numerous small low-frequency earthquakes and low level tremor have steadily declined in magnitude the past week at Tungurahua volcano (station RETU).

Seismograms recorded at New Zealand volcanoes over the past 24 hours show continuous volcanic tremor at White Island, and a few small earthquakes at the Ngauruhoe/Tongariro volcanic complex.

Recent satellite imagery shows enhanced SO2 output at Ambrym (Vanuatu). Plumes at Popo, Nevado Del Ruiz and Sakurajima (Japan) are comparable to those seen in previous images.


  1. Mark Allegranzi says

    I remember watching a television special about the eruption of Krakatoa, which occurred, I believe, in the 17 or 1800s. It was one of the most massive eruptions on record. Supposedly, the entire volcanic island was literally pulverized into nothing but ash. This ash ascended up into the earth's atmosphere where it eventually found its way to the upper atmosphere where it enveloped the entire earth. Supposedly, this thin veil of ash from Krakatoa was enough to block the sun's rays which in turn cooled the earth's atmosphere by one or two degrees over an extended period of time.

    As we all know, today many people are concerned about global warming. I find a bit of comfort in knowing that just the right amount of volcanic activity might be able to mitigate the effects of this global warming trend. Every time I hear of an eruption of a super-volcano, I realize that many people in the vicinity of the volcano are in immediate danger; however, I also realize that there may actually be a great benefit to the entire world, too.

    When Guatamala's Fuego volcano erupted just recently, it was evident that any nearby populus must evacuate. We would all hope that no one would be injured or killed. If ever a silver lining did exist in any major eruption or in any chain of eruptions, that silver lining might well be one that encircled our entire planet in the guise of enough volcanic ash to reverse the threat of global warming. Many concerned scientists could sure use a bit of positive news, and so could I.