Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 13 March-19 March 2002

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 March-19 March 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 13 March-19 March 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

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Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


According to a news article, INSIVUMEH staff stated that beginning on 11 March volcanic activity increased at Santa María's lava-dome complex, Santiaguito. Until at least 14 March, ash was emitted from nearly constant explosions and fractures opened on the volcano. Ash rose 600-900 m above the volcano and fell in the towns of Retalhuleu (25 km SSE of the volcano) and San Marcos, and in areas that border México.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María 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.

Source: Prensa Libre