Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 6 June-12 June 2007

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 June-12 June 2007
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2007. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 June-12 June 2007. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

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Santa Maria


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

CONRED reported that the Observatory Vulcanológico de Santiaguito (OVSAN) and several seismic stations registered a lahar from Santa María on 5 June. The lahar descended the Nima I river and carried blocks 1-1.5 m in diameter and tree branches. The approximately 12-m-wide by 3-m-thick deposit was hot and smelled of sulfur. On 7 June, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Caliente dome produced steam-and-ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 4.3-4.7 km (14,000-15,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. A plume rose from a cooling lava flow at the NE base of the lava dome. Continuous landslides of blocks and ash were noted on the SW flank.

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.

Sources: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED)