Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 24 October-30 October 2012

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 October-30 October 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, 24 October-30 October 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

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Santa Maria

Guatemala

14.756°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3772 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Based on analysis of satellite imagery and information from INSIVUMEH, the Washington VAAC reported that on 24 October an 11-km-wide ash plume from Santa María drifted over 30 km SW. A diffuse gas-and-ash plume drifted 18 km S the next day.

INSIVUMEH reported that during 24-25 October explosions from Caliente dome produced ash plumes that rose 600 m and drifted W and almost 20 km S. Lava flows were visibly active on 26 October. Cloud cover prevented observations on 28 October. On 30 October a weak explosion generated an ash plume that rose 700 m and drifted SW. A few avalanches were produced by lava flows.

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.

Sources: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)