Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 10 December-16 December 2008
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 December-16 December 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 December-16 December 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH reported that on 12 December explosions from Caliente dome in Santa María's Santiaguito complex produced an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 3.2 km (10,500 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that an ash plume rose to an altitude of 5.8 km (19,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SW. On 16 December, two ash puffs drifted W and WNW at altitudes of 4.3-4.6 km (14,000-15,000 ft) a.s.l.
Geological Summary. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is part of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rise above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The sharp-topped, conical profile is cut on the SW flank by a 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 vents, with activity progressing W towards the most recent, Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.