Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 5 June-11 June 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 June-11 June 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, 5 June-11 June 2013. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
In a special bulletin on 5 June, INSIVUMEH stated that residents of Quetzaltenango, 18 km WNW of Santa María, reported slight ashfall and a sulfur odor. On 6 June white and blue emissions rose 400 m from the E edge of the Santiaguito lava-dome complex’s active dome. The next day gas plumes rose 500 m and drifted N. On 8 June lahars carrying blocks descended the Nima I and Tambor drainages on the S flank. An explosion on 9 June generated an ash plume that rose 600 m and caused ashfall in Monte Claro (S). On 11 June white gas plumes rose 100 m and drifted SW. A few weak avalanches traveled S.
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 stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that 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 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.