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Report on San Miguel (El Salvador) — 23 March-29 March 2011

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 March-29 March 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on San Miguel (El Salvador). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 23 March-29 March 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (23 March-29 March 2011)


San Miguel

El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W; summit elev. 2130 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET) reported that during a survey of the San Miguel crater on 9 and 16 March observers noted pulses of gas rising 200 m from the crater. On 12 March the number and amplitude of earthquakes increased. RSAM values rose the next day to 121 units per day on average, up from normal values around 50 units per day. RSAM values continued to fluctuate during the next few days and reached as high as 319 units on 19 March, 414 units on 20 March, and 234 on 21 March. On 18 and 20 March, local residents felt vibrations and heard minor rumbling. Observations on 25 March indicated that gas plumes rose 100 m from the crater. On 28 March SNET noted that seismicity had gradually decreased during the previous few days, and was as low as 80 RSAM units on 27 March. Access to areas within a 2-km-radius remained restricted.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical cone of San Miguel volcano, one of the most active in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. The unvegetated summit rises above slopes draped with coffee plantations. A broad, deep crater complex that has been frequently modified by historical eruptions (recorded since the early 16th century) caps the truncated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Radial fissures on the flanks of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have fed a series of historical lava flows, including several erupted during the 17th-19th centuries that reached beyond the base of the volcano on the N, NE, and SE sides. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. The location of flank vents has migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Source: Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales (SNET)