Report on San Vicente (El Salvador) — 4 November-10 November 2009
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 November-10 November 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on San Vicente (El Salvador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 November-10 November 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
13.595°N, 88.837°W; summit elev. 2182 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
According to news articles, heavy rains caused landslides and flooding in the town of Verapaz, about 6 km NW of the summit of San Vicente, during 7-8 November. Mud and boulders swept down the flanks San Vicente, and in conjunction with flooded rivers, buried homes and cars; at least 144 people were killed and about 60 were missing.
Geologic Background. The twin peaks of San Vicente volcano, also known as Chichontepec, rise dramatically to the SE of Lake Ilopango. The modern andesitic stratovolcano was constructed within the Pleistocene La Carbonera caldera, whose rim is visible only on its SW side. San Vicente volcano, the second highest in El Salvador, grew within the caldera to form a paired volcano with summit craters oriented along a WSW-ENE line. The northern and southern flanks are covered by lava flows from the central vent, but lava flows on the eastern side originated from a vent on the upper flank. Volcanism has continued into the Holocene, but the latest lava flows are covered by deposits from the major ca. 260 CE eruption from neighboring Ilopango. Reports of historical eruptions in 1643 and 1835 are false (Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World; Sapper, 1917), but numerous hot springs and fumaroles are found on the northern and western flanks.