Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 2 February-8 February 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 February-8 February 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 February-8 February 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 2 February an ash plume from Santa María's Santiaguito lava dome complex drifted less than 30 km SW and quickly dissipated. INSIVUMEH reported that during 2-3 February explosions produced ash plumes that rose 300 m above Caliente dome and drifted S and SW. On 4 February the VAAC noted that an ash plume was detected in satellite imagery. INSIVUMEH notices also stated that fumarolic plumes rose as high as 150 m above the dome during 2-3 and 6-7 February and drifted SE and W. Several landslides on the flanks occurred during 6-7 February. Explosions during 7-8 February produced ash plumes that rose 400 m above the dome and drifted SE.
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.