Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 26 October-1 November 2011
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 October-1 November 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, 26 October-1 November 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.756°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3772 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH reported that during 26-27 October gas plumes from Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex rose 200 m above the crater and lava flows on the SE and SW flanks generated block avalanches that were deposited into the Río Nimá II drainage. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that on 26 October an ash plume drifted 16.7 km SW and then rapidly dissipated. The next day satellite imagery showed a possible ash plume and a thermal anomaly.
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.