Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 19 June-25 June 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 June-25 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, 19 June-25 June 2013. 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 19 June an explosion from Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated a white plume that rose 700 m and drifted SW. On 20 June lahars that descended the Nimá I and Tambor river drainages on the S flank were 30 m wide and 3 m thick. The lahar in Nimá I carried blocks up to 3 m wide as well as branches and tree trunks. The lava dome continued to grow on 22 June and fed a lava flow that traveled S, which produced avalanches from the flow front. An explosion on 23 June generated a gray plume that rose 500 m and drifted SW, causing ashfall in Monte Claro (S). On 23 and 25 incandescent avalanches descended the S flank. Explosions on 25 June produced ash plumes that rose 700-1,000 m and drifted 10 km S and SW.
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.