Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 4 September-10 September 2013

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 September-10 September 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, 4 September-10 September 2013. 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)


INSIVUMEH reported that at 1405 on 5 September a lahar descended Santa María's Nima I drainage on the S flank carrying mostly fine sediment and 50-cm-diameter blocks, but also a small percentage of blocks 1-2 m in diameter. During 5-10 September white plumes rose 200-500 m and drifted W, SW, E, and NE. A few weak avalanches descended the S part of the active crater of the Santiaguito lava-dome complex. On 10 September another lahar traveled down the Nima I drainage, carrying blocks up to 3 m in diameter. The lahar was 15 m wide, 6 m deep, and had a sulfur odor.

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.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)