Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 29 July-4 August 2009
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 July-4 August 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 July-4 August 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 31 July and 3 August, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Santa María's Santiaguito lava dome complex produced ash plumes and that the Caliente lava dome was incandescent. On 3 August, ash plumes rose to an altitude of 3.1 km (10,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W. Fumarolic plumes rose 200 m above Caliente dome. Rumbling noises were occasionally heard.
Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile 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 vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.