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Initial constraints on triggering mechanisms of the eruption of Fuego volcano (Guatemala) from 3 June 2018 using IASI satellite data

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Early online date24 Mar 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 22 Mar 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2019


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.

    Research areas

  • 3 June 2018, Eruption, Fuego, IASI, Paroxysmal, SO

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