Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 18 January-24 January 2012

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 January-24 January 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 January-24 January 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

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Santa Maria

Guatemala

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


INSIVUMEH reported that active lava flows on the SE flanks of Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated block avalanches during 18-19 and 23 January. On 19 and 23 January explosions generated ash plumes that rose 400-800 m above the complex. On 19 January ashfall was reported in communities of La Florida (5 km S), Palajunoj (SW flank), and San Marcos (46 km NW). Crater incandescence was observed at night on 23 January.

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.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)