On 3 June 2018 Volcán de Fuego (Guatemala) erupted explosively with unusual intensity, producing wide-spread ash dispersal and pyroclastic flows of >11 km length, which destroyed a community on Fuego's flanks, causing hundreds of fatalities. Here, we analyze satellite measurements of the SO 2 plume emitted during the most intense eruptive phase. Key eruption parameters including the injection height and SO 2 flux time-series indicate a degassing intensity at least three orders of magnitude above baseline levels. Our results suggest a steady ~2.5 hour climactic paroxysmal phase of the eruption with a mass eruption rate of ~1.4kg s −1 based on the combination of plume height estimates and an eruption column model, producing 0.03 ± 0.004 km 3 of tephra. We detect at least 130 kt of emitted SO 2 from satellite images, producing a minimum dissolved magmatic sulfur concentration of 500 ppm. Possible source mechanisms are discussed, which may be useful in assessing the risks posed by future large-magnitude eruptions to the large populations that live on Fuego's flanks. This study shows that even under challenging conditions of a tropical atmosphere during the rainy season, vital eruption parameters to constrain source mechanisms of eruptions can be retrieved from satellite remote sensing data.
- 3 June 2018