Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 31 August-6 September 2022
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 August-6 September 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 August-6 September 2022. 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 the eruption at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex continued during 30 August-6 September. Lava-dome effusion at Caliente cone fed lava flows that descended the San Isidro and El Tambor drainages on the W and SW flanks; the flows were as long as 4.2 km by 30 August. Block avalanches from the dome, and from both the ends and sides of the flows, descended the SW and W flanks. The avalanches sometimes generated ash plumes that rose as high as 500 m above the complex. Incandescence from the dome and the lava flows was sometimes visible at night or during early mornings. Explosions during 31 August-1 September occasionally ejected incandescent material onto the flanks in all directions.
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.