Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 25 April-1 May 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 April-1 May 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, 25 April-1 May 2012. 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 on 25 April a lahar traveled down Santa María's Rio Nima II drainage, carrying 1.5-m-wide blocks and tree branches. During 30 April-1 May white plumes rose 300-600 m above the lava dome. Lava flows continued to produce avalanches that descended the flanks. Ashfall was reported in Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW) and surrounding areas.
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.