Tolimán

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 14.612°N
  • 91.189°W

  • 3158 m
    10358 ft

  • 342070
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

23 April-29 April 2003

A landslide on the outer flanks of Tolimán volcano passed through and buried portions of a mountain village at 0418 on 23 April. Regional authorities blamed steep slopes, wet soils, and minor tremors. The disaster struck the village of Chichicaste, which lies along the volcanic front ~300 km W of the capital, Guatemala City. Tolimán and the area stricken sit on the S side of Lake Atitlán, the 18 x 12 km lake filling the depression of Guatemala's famous Atitlán caldera.

As of the afternoon of 23 April, the Guatemalan agency CONRED reported 200 people evacuated, 20 missing, and 6 confirmed dead. Known damage to infrastructure included 40 homes at risk, another 12 with severe damage, and 6 destroyed. The village and environs had been specifically mentioned as vulnerable to landslide hazards in a government report issued in September 2002 following a similar disaster then. Mudslides in highland areas are common during the wet season, an interval that often occurs during late March through September.

Sources: Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)

Index of Weekly Reports


2003: April

Weekly Reports


23 April-29 April 2003

A landslide on the outer flanks of Tolimán volcano passed through and buried portions of a mountain village at 0418 on 23 April. Regional authorities blamed steep slopes, wet soils, and minor tremors. The disaster struck the village of Chichicaste, which lies along the volcanic front ~300 km W of the capital, Guatemala City. Tolimán and the area stricken sit on the S side of Lake Atitlán, the 18 x 12 km lake filling the depression of Guatemala's famous Atitlán caldera.

As of the afternoon of 23 April, the Guatemalan agency CONRED reported 200 people evacuated, 20 missing, and 6 confirmed dead. Known damage to infrastructure included 40 homes at risk, another 12 with severe damage, and 6 destroyed. The village and environs had been specifically mentioned as vulnerable to landslide hazards in a government report issued in September 2002 following a similar disaster then. Mudslides in highland areas are common during the wet season, an interval that often occurs during late March through September.

Sources: Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED); Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)


The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Tolimán.

Volcán Tolimán is a large andesitic stratovolcano that rises above the south shore of Lake Atitlán. Tolimán was constructed within the Pleistocene Atitlán III caldera, near its inferred southern margin. A shallow elliptical crater truncates the summit, and a minor subsidiary peak to the SSW also has a shallow crater. In contrast to the tephra-covered surface of its twin volcano to the south, Volcán Atitlán, the surface of Tolimán is draped by prominent thick lava flows. Many of the flows were erupted from vents on the volcano's flanks and form a highly irregular shoreline on the south side of Lake Atitlán. No historical eruptions are known from Tolimán. However, a lava flow that entered Lake Atitlán from the parasitic lava dome of Cerro de Oro on the northern flank was considered by Newhall et al. (1987) to be less than a few thousand years old based on the thickness of sediment accumulated on the sublacustral part of the flow.

The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Tolimán. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Tolimán page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.



Synonyms
Northern Atitlán | Casuela Juyu | San Lucas


Cones
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Central Atitlán Cone 3134 m 14° 36' 40" N 91° 11' 10" W


Domes
Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Oro, Cerro de Dome 1892 m 14° 39' 50" N 91° 10' 41" W
The paired Atitlán-Tolimán volcanoes rise above Lake Atitlán in this view from the town of Solola north of the lake. Atitlán, Tolimán's higher twin volcano, forms the skyline immediately behind and to the left of Tolimán. Cerro de Oro, a flank lava dome, seen here immediately above the lakeshore left of the summit, erupted within the past few thousand years. The two volcanoes were constructed over the buried rims of two Miocene-Pleistocene Atitlán calderas.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1988 (Smithsonian Institution).
Three major post-caldera stratovolcanoes fill the southern half of Atitlán caldera in this view from the NE. Atitlán caldera was formed during three major explosive eruptions from the Miocene to late Pleistocene. Conical Atitlán volcano (upper left) was constructed above the southern rim of the youngest caldera, Atitlán III, whose low southern rim is visible on the center horizon beyond narrow Santiago bay. Tolimán (right of Atitlán) and San Pedro (upper right) overlie the rim of Atitlán II. The buried rim of Atitlán I lies below the shoreline of Tolimán.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
The rounded peak in the foreground is the southernmost of the twin summit peaks of Tolimán volcano. The older post-caldera volcano of Atitlán caldera, San Pedro, lies across Santiago Bay at the right. On the center horizon are the peaks of Santo Tomás (left) and Santa María (right). Tajumulco volcano, Central America's highest, is the peak on the far right horizon. The Guatemalan volcanic front rises more than 3500 m above the hazy Pacific coastal plain at the upper left.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Volcán Tolimán (center) towers above the south shore of scenic Lake Atitlán. Tolimán and its conical twin volcano Atitlán (upper left) were constructed within the Pleistocene Atitlán III caldera, near its inferred southern margin. In contrast to the tephra-covered surface of Volcán Atitlán, the surface of Tolimán is draped by prominent thick lava flows. The recent history of Tolimán is dominated by effusive eruptions from flank vents. The resulting lava flows extend into the lake and produce a highly irregular shoreline.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1972 (Michigan Technological University).
Conical Volcán Atitlán directly overlies the inferred margin of the Pleistocene Atitlán III caldera, whose northern rim lies across Lake Atitlán. Atitlán volcano forms a paired volcano with Tolimán to its north (seen just to the right of Atitlán's summit). The historically active Atitlán is younger than Tolimán, although their earlier activity overlapped. In contrast to Tolimán, Atitlán displays a thick pyroclastic cover, reflecting its predominantly explosive eruptions that have been recorded since the 15th century.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Scenic Lake Atitlán fills the northern half of the Atitlán III caldera, which formed about 84,000 years ago following eruption of the Los Chocoyos Ash. The 18 x 12 km caldera lake is seen here from the south, with the slopes of the post-caldera Tolimán stratovolcano in the foreground. The relatively flat lake floor is 300 m below the water surface, and caldera walls rise to nearly 900 m above the lake. Bathymetric surveys revealed no evidence for resurgent doming or post-caldera vents beneath the lake surface.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Cerro de Oro, a 200-m-high lava dome, was constructed on the northern flank of Tolimán volcano near the southern shoreline of Lake Atitlán. Lava flows from Cerro de Oro extend into the lake and may be as young as a few thousand years. The dome's name (which means Hill of Gold) reflects local belief that it contains buried treasure.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1972 (Michigan Technological University).
The linear Santiago Bay in Lake Atitlán is the result of encroachment by the flanks of three post-caldera volcanoes into Lake Atitlán. The narrow channel extends about 8 km to the low southern caldera wall on the center horizon and is about 1 km wide. At the right are the slopes of San Pedro, the oldest of the post-caldera stratovolcanoes. Contrasting eruptive styles produced the irregular shoreline in the left foreground consisting of lava flows from Tolimán and the smoother shoreline at the far left, formed by pyroclastic deposits from Atitlán volcano.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Youthful lobate lava flows from Tolimán volcano form an irregular shore jutting into Lake Atitlán. The satellitic cone of Cerro de Oro is on the near shore at the upper right, and the NE wall of Atitlán caldera rises nearly 900 m above the far side of the lake. The town of Santiago Atitlán (lower center) lies near the mouth of Santiago Bay. The buried margin of Atitlán I caldera, the first of three Miocene-Pleistocene calderas at Atitlán, lies approximately below Cerro de Oro; the boundary of Atitlán II caldera lies just below the bottom of the photo.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
The twin peaks of Tolimán volcano rise only 4 km away beyond the block-littered summit of Atitlán volcano. Atitlán volcano was constructed over the approximate margin of the Atitlán III caldera, whereas Tolimán was built over the margin of Atitlán II caldera. The irregular shoreline at the left is formed by lava flows from Tolimán. The far wall of Atitlán III caldera can be faintly seen across Lake Atitlán. The two post-caldera cones have dramatically different eruptive styles, with lava flows dominating at Tolimán and pyroclastic eruptions at Atitlán.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1983 (Michigan Technological University).
The 6-km-long, dagger-like Santiago Bay on Lake Atitlán is constrained by lava flows from San Pedro (upper left) and Tolimán (right-center) volcanoes. Young lava flows entering the lake, in particular those from Tolimán, have created a very irregular shoreline. The unvegetated summit of Atitlán volcano, the youngest post-caldera stratovolcano, lies south of Tolimán. Part of the southern margin of the Atitlán III caldera, which lies below the summit of Atitlán volcano, is offset along faults just south of the tip of Santiago Bay.

NASA Landsat image, 2000 (courtesy of Loren Siebert, University of Akron).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Carr M J, 1984. Symmetrical and segmented variation of physical and geochemical characterisitics of the Central American volcanic front. J Volc Geotherm Res, 20: 231-252.

Halsor S, Rose W I, 1991. Mineralogical relations and magma mixing in calc-alkaline andesites from Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Mineral Petr, 45: 47-67.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Mooser F, Meyer-Abich H, McBirney A R, 1958. Central America. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 6: 1-146.

Newhall C G, 1987. Geology of the Lake Atitlan region, western Guatemala. J Volc Geotherm Res, 33: 23-55.

Newhall C G, Paull C K, Bradbury J P, Higuera-Gundy A, Poppe L J, Self S, Bonar Sharpless N, Ziagos J, 1987. Recent geologic history of Lake Atitlan, a caldera lake in western Guatemala. J Volc Geotherm Res, 33: 81-107.

Penfield G T, Rose W I, Halsor S, 1986. Geology of the Lake Atitlan volcanoes. Geol Soc Amer Map and Chart Ser, 55 1:49,212 scale map.

Rose W I, Penfield G T, Drexler J W, Larson P B, 1980. Geochemistry of the andesite flank lavas of three composite cones within the Atitlan Cauldron, Guatemala. Bull Volc, 43: 131-154.

Sapper K, 1925. The Volcanoes of Central America. Halle: Verlag Max Niemeyer, 144 p.

Volcano Types

Stratovolcano
Stratovolcano(twin)
Lava dome

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
5,641
67,361
703,786
8,130,714

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Tolimán Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.