Geology for Global Development

Images of Guatemala (3) – Lahar Deposits at Fuego


Lahars at Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala.

This image captures a lahar [mudflow] deposit close to Volcan de Fuego. These deposits are formed when rain mobilises ash and pyroclastic material on the volcano to form a fast moving, powerful mudflow with the ability to transport material including large boulders. As the energy dissipates, the sediment is deposited as we see above.

Difficult to see in this image, but a tragic reality, is that this lahar destroyed a road. This road was a vital piece of infrastructure to allow evacuation from an erupting volcano, and without it many people will find evacuation very difficult. Lahars, alongside pyroclastic flows, are two of the most significant and destructive volcanic hazards associated with Volcan de Fuego.

You can read more about Fuego and its secondary hazards online here.

(Credit: Geology for Global Development, 2014)


Every Friday we are publishing an image from Guatemala to promote our ‘100 x 100’ fundraising campaign. We are working with students, recent graduates and others in the UK to raise money to support efforts to reduce the impact of volcanic hazards in Guatemala.

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Joel is the Founder/Director of Geology for Global Development (@Geo_Dev) an organisation working to support geologists to make a sustainable contribution to the fight against global poverty. He is an interdisciplinary researcher, with a PhD in geography (natural hazards), and research interests in multi-hazard frameworks, disaster risk reduction, rural water projects, and sustainable development. This work has taken him to Chile, China, Guatemala, India, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Joel is currently based at the British Geological Survey, and tweets at @JoelCGill.