Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 27 September-3 October 2006
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 September-3 October 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 27 September-3 October 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Explosive activity at Santa María has continued to be reported during 21-29 September by INSIVUMEH. Two explosions on 21 September caused minor ashfall and small block avalanches. A pyroclastic flow the next day was generated by material coming off of Caliente dome. Additional explosions reported on 26 and 29 September again caused ashfall to the SW. Lava extrusion on the 29th triggered avalanches that sent blocks to the base of the crater.
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.