Suchitan

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 14.4°N
  • 89.78°W

  • 2042 m
    6698 ft

  • 342160
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

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Volcán Suchitán, NE of the city of Jutiapa, is one of the largest volcanoes in SE Guatemala. The 2042-m-high summit of the andesitic-to-basaltic stratovolcano is elongated in a N-S direction. Several large canyons cut the slopes of the dominantly andesitic edifice. A large parasitic cone, Cerro Mataltepe, is located on the upper northern flank, and two smaller cones are located on the lower northern flank. Two basaltic lava flows of Holocene age are located on the northern and NW flanks (Williams et al., 1964), and many flank vents are basaltic. Suchitán was constructed immediately to the east of the 5-km-wide basaltic-to-dacitic Retana caldera, formed in part in association with the eruption of a dacitic pumice deposit. Steep walls 60-250-m high rise above the flat caldera floor. One of the latest basaltic lava flows from Suchitán flowed through a low notch in the eastern caldera rim. Several lava cones and a maar are located along a N-S line north of Retana caldera. A reported eruption of Suchitán in 1469 is considered to have actually been from Atitlán volcano in the Guatemalan highlands.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1469 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    

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

Santa Catarina Mita

Cones

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Asunción, La Cone
Cuesta del Guayabo Pyroclastic cone 1140 m 14° 23' 0" N 89° 49' 0" W
Horcones, Cerro de Cone
Mataltepe, Cerro Cone 1854 m
Olivas, Cerro los Cone
Ovejero, Cerro el Cone
Reparo, Cerro el Cone
Tahual, Volcán Stratovolcano 1715 m 14° 28' 0" N 89° 54' 0" W
Tierra Colorado, Cerro Cone

Craters

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Hoyo, Laguna de Maar 1120 m 14° 28' 0" N 89° 53' 0" W
Retana Caldera Caldera 1410 m 14° 25' 0" N 89° 50' 0" W
San Pedro, Laguna de Maar 980 m 14° 28' 0" N 89° 51' 0" W
The elongated Suchitán volcano, seen here from the west on the rim of Retana caldera, is the highest of a cluster of closely spaced small stratovolcanoes and basaltic cinder-cone fields in SE Guatemala. The large peak to the left of the 2042-m-high summit of Suchitán is Cerro Mataltepe; other cinder cones occur lower on the north flank. One of the latest lava flows from Suchitán traveled through a low notch in the east rim of the caldera. The flat-bottomed floor of Retana caldera once contained a lake, but now is used for agricultural land.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1993 (Smithsonian Institution).
The flat floor of the 5-km-wide Retana caldera between Suchitán and Tahual volcanoes is now used for farmland. The steep-sided caldera walls range up to 250 m in height, and a low notch on the northern rim (left-center) drains the caldera. The caldera was considered to have formed mainly by subsidence; the volume of dacitic pumice and lithic fragments associated with caldera formation is insufficient to account for the 1.5 cu km volume of the caldera.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1993 (Smithsonian Institution).
Retana caldera, between Suchitán and Tahual volcanoes, is a prominent steep-walled caldera once filled by Laguna Retana. The lake periodically became dry and was refilled in the 19th and 20th centuries and has now been drained to provide access to rich soils on the lake floor. A canal drains the lake through a notch on its northern rim (extreme right). The caldera is seen here from its eastern rim (on the flank of Suchitán volcano). Volcán Tahual is the forested volcano behind the caldera at the right-center.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1993 (Smithsonian Institution).
This view from the Apaneca Range shows the CH-A well and drill rig of the Ahuachapán geothermal field in the foreground. The conical peak on the left horizon to the north across the lowlands of El Salvador's interior valley is Volcán Chingo, along the El Salvador/Guatemala border. The flat-topped peak in the far right distance is Volcán Suchitán in Guatemala.

Photo by Comisión Ejecutiva Hidroeléctricia del Río Lempa (CEL), 1992.
The irregular summit ridge of Volcán Suchitán is seen here from the SSW, west of the city of Asunción Mita. The largely andesitic stratovolcano rises 1100 m above its base and is one of the largest in SE Guatemala. The stratovolcano is extensively eroded, and large canyons cut its slopes. Two basaltic lava flows of estimated Holocene age were erupted from vents on the northern and NW flanks.

Photo by Giuseppina Kysar, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The northern wall of Coatepeque caldera rises about 250 m above the surface of Lago de Coatepeque, whose shores are lined with residences and small hotels. The conical peak on the left horizon is Volcán Chingo, which straddles the El Salvador/Guatemala border. The flat-topped peak on the far right horizon is Volcán Suchitán, one of the largest volcanoes in SE Guatemala.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).

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.

Dozy J J, 1949. Some notes on the volcanoes of Guatemala. Bull Volc, 8: 47-68.

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

Williams H, McBirney A R, Dengo G, 1964. Geologic reconnaissance of southeastern Guatemala. Univ Calif Pub Geol Sci, 50: 1-62.

Volcano Types

Stratovolcano(es)
Pyroclastic cone(s)
Maar(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Dacite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
4,149
49,376
421,074
8,257,118

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Suchitan 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.