Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 28 January-3 February 2004
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 January-3 February 2004
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 January-3 February 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
During 28 January to 2 February, small-to-moderate explosions occurred at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex. During 31 January to 2 February, collapses occurred at the SW edge of the lava dome within Caliente cone. Ash plumes were produced that rose to ~1 km above the lava dome, as well as small avalanches of volcanic blocks and ash. According to the Washington VAAC, on 2 February ash plumes were visible on satellite imagery rising to ~1 km above the volcano. INSIVUMEH recommended that tourists not visit the S part of the volcano.
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 stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a 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.