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Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 21 April-27 April 2010

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 April-27 April 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 21 April-27 April 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (21 April-27 April 2010)

Santa Maria


14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

On 20 April, INSIVUMEH reported that explosions from Santa María's Santiaguito lava dome complex produced ash plumes that rose to altitudes of 2.8-3.4 km (9,200-11,200 ft) a.s.l. and drifted S and SE. On 26 April, ash explosions and pyroclastic flows generated ash plumes that rose to an altitude of 8.3 km (27,300 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW and N. Ashfall was reported in Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW) and other areas to the W, NW, and N. According to news articles, schools in 10 communities were closed and flights were banned from within a 20-km-radius 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 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: Associated Press, Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)