Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 20 March-26 March 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 March-26 March 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 March-26 March 2013. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH reported that during 13-19 March explosions from Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex produced ash plumes that rose as high as 4 km and drifted NE, E, S, SW, and W. Explosions were heard during 25-26 March. Avalanches from lava-flow fronts traveled down the flanks, and incandescence in the crater was observed on some nights. Ashfall was reported in El Faro (SW flank) and La Florida (5 km S) during 13-14 and 25-26 March, in Quetzaltenango (18 km WNW) during 17-18 March, and in San Jose on 19 March.
Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile is cut on the SW flank by a 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 vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.