Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — September 1982

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 9 (September 1982)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Eruption causes flooding and evacuations

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1982. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: McClelland, L (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 7:9. Smithsonian Institution. http://dx.doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198209-342030.

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Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.756°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3772 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


The newspaper El Gráfico reported 26 August that activity from Santiaguito had forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents of towns on and near its flanks. The activity caused the overflow of the Nimá River, leaving hundreds of families in the Nimá valley homeless. No additional information was available.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa MarĂ­a volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The 3772-m-high stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a large, 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit to the lower flank and was formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The renowned plinian eruption of 1902 that devastated much of SW Guatemala followed a long repose period after construction of the large basaltic-andesite stratovolcano. The massive dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Compound dome growth at Santiaguito has occurred episodically from four westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.

Information Contacts: Diario El Gráfico, Guatemala City; P. Newton, Antigua.