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Report on Izalco (El Salvador) — December 1999

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 24, no. 12 (December 1999)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Izalco (El Salvador) Fumaroles active 35 years ago now emitting water vapor at 86°C

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1999. Report on Izalco (El Salvador) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 24:12. Smithsonian Institution.

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El Salvador

13.813°N, 89.633°W; summit elev. 1950 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Izalco's summit crater was visited to examine the fumarole field that was the site of many geochemical and mineralogical studies in the 1960's and 1970's. The remaining fumaroles consist only of water vapor with a maximum temperature of 86°C.

Volcan de Izalco originated in 1770 A.D. on the S flank of Santa Ana volcano. Frequent Strombolian eruptions from the volcano, known as the "Lighthouse of Central America," produced a 650-m-high stratovolcano within 200 years.

Geologic Background. Volcán de Izalco, El Salvador's youngest volcano, was born in in 1770 CE on the southern flank of Santa Ana volcano. Frequent strombolian eruptions from Izalco provided a night-time beacon for ships, causing the volcano to be known as El Faro, the "Lighthouse of the Pacific." During the two centuries prior to the cessation of activity in 1966, Izalco built a steep-sided, 650-m-high stratovolcano truncated by a 250-m-wide summit crater. Izalco has been one of the most frequently active volcanoes in North America, and its sparsely vegetated slopes contrast dramatically with neighboring forested volcanoes. Izalco's dominantly basaltic-andesite pyroclasts and lava flows are geochemically distinct from those of both Santa Ana and its fissure-controlled flank vents. Lava flows were mostly erupted from flank vents and deflected southward by the slopes of Santa Ana, traveling as far as about 7 km from the summit of Izalco.

Information Contacts: Alain Bernard, BRUGEL, Université Libre de Bruxelles 160/02 50, Ave. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.