Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 18 September-24 September 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 September-24 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, 18 September-24 September 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 during 17-18 September explosions from Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex produced ash plumes that rose 900 m and drifted W. Block avalanches descended the E flank of Caliente cone. Degassing sounds were reported during 19-21 September; gas plumes rose 150 m and drifted SW on 21 September. At 0820 on 21 September explosions from Caliente cone collapsed part of the SE crater rim, produced an ash plume that rose 2 km and drifted N and NE, and generated pyroclastic flows that descended the flanks. A strong shock wave was detected 20 km away and shook structures within 10 km. Explosions on 23 September produced ash plumes that rose 700 m and drifted E. Block avalanches again descended the E flank of Caliente cone. Two explosions on 24 September generated light gray ash plumes that rose 500 m and caused ashfall in areas around Monte Claro (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 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.