September 19, 1998
Guatemala's main international airport was forced to close for several
hours between September 18 and 19 after an explosive eruption of Pacaya
Volcano showered the runways with ash. Crews worked all night to remove
the ash from the runway, and the airport is now open.
June 3, 1998
Allan Cobb sent us this update from Guatemala
I'm here in Guatemala City getting ready
to head out to the Peten to work. Thought I would send an update on
Pacaya. According to Prena Libre, CONRED, Coordinadora Nacional para
la Reduccion de Desastres [National Disaster Relief Coordinator], issued
a Yellow Alert for peoples living around Pacaya on June 3, 1998. According
to the paper, there was sand and lava flowing 300 meters from the summit.
On June 3, Pacaya has another ash eruption that sent ash 300 to 700
meters into the air. This was not visible from Guatemala City due to
clouds. Yesterday, afternoon it was clear enough to see Pacaya but it
only has small amounts of smoke and ash exiting the vent.
May 21, 1998
Pacaya experienced a large eruption on
May 20. Tephra was ejected to heights of ~1.25 miles (~2 km) above the
crater. Lapilli and ash fell ~20 miles (~30 km) to the north in Guatemala
City. This was the first time tephra from Pacaya has ever reached Guatemala
City. The eruptions resumed on May 21, causing the evacuation of 600
people from two villages near the volcano. These two villages were the
only population centers at maximum risk, but this latest eruption endangered
as many as six towns within a 5 mile (8 km) radius of the volcano.
May 18, 1998
Pacaya has erupted several times during
the period between May 15 may May 18. These eruptions consistently ejected
smoke and ash up to 1000 ft (~300 m) into the air. Ash from these eruptions,
combined with forest fires that have been burning out of control for
weeks in Central America, is causing serious problems over Central America
and Texas. The ash has made air travel difficult in many areas, making
landing possible only through the use of instrument guidence in Guatemala
City. Hondurus was forced to close its two largest airports. The ash
has also caused problems breathing as far away as Houston, Texas.
Henry Gaudru of the European Volcanological
Society reported a strong eruption at Pacaya volcano. About 1,200 people
living on the flank of the volcano were evacuated. Intense earthquake
activity accompanied the eruption.
U.S. geological Survey photograph of the 1976 eruption of Pacaya.
June 1, 1995
Pacaya volcano in Guatemala erupted on
June 1. It sent a plume of ash miles (6-km) above the volcano. The ash
damaged vegetation and produced a thin deposit as far as 2 miles (3.5
km) away. A new crater formed which destroyed some of the older features
on the volcano. The amount of lava pouring out of this crater decreased
over time and will probably continue to do so. Analysis of the eruption
using GOES-8 satellite images revealed a plume moving to the southeast
at 12 miles/hr (19 km/hr). The plume rose to a height of 5.6 miles (9
km). Pacaya is 18 miles (30 km) south of Guatemala City, the capital
of Guatemala. Pacaya is a stratovolcano that has erupted at least 20
times since 1565. Since 1965, the volcano has been erupting almost continuously
with pauses between eruptions lasting only a few months. Recent eruptions
produced a 2.8 mile (4.5 km) tall Strombolian eruption column in 1989
and lava flows in 1989-91.