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Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — September 1996

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 9 (September 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Santa Maria (Guatemala) Small explosion from Santiaguito dome

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Wunderman, R (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199609-342030.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin

Santa Maria


14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The main crater (Caliente) of Santa María's active dome, Santiaguito, issued a 300-m-high explosion at 0631 on 14 October. Ash from the explosion blew E and small avalanches traveled down the E and S flanks. Brief explosions from the Caliente vent at Santiaguito were last reported in November 1993. However, it is likely that there has been near-continuous low-level activity since that time.

Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa MarĂ­a volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that 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 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.

Information Contacts: Eddie Sánchez and Otoniel Matías, INSIVUMEH.