Guatemalan volcano damages avocado plantations

On April 7, Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano is still showing high levels of activity, with strong eruptions spewing rivers of lava and ash clouds. The national disaster coordination body said that the advancing lava has caused wildfires and resulted in the destruction of avocado (and coffee) plantations.

The 2,500-meter Pacaya volcano, one of the most active of the country’s 38 volcanoes, lies about 25 km south of the capital of Guatemala City. After being dormant for over 70 years, Pacaya has been erupting frequently since 1961. It has been steadily active in 2021, with two strong explosions at the end of last month (March 24-30).

In recent weeks, Pacaya has been displaying what scientists refer to as strombolian activity – short-lived, explosive outbursts of lava – fueling lava fountains and flows, and spewing plumes into the air. According to a NASA report, plumes of gas and ash have risen as high as 4,500 meters above sea level from the volcano’s Mackenney summit crater. Lava has flowed 2 to 3 km down its west flank.


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