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Report on San Miguel (El Salvador) — January 1986

San Miguel

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 1 (January 1986)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

San Miguel (El Salvador) Ash emission and seismicity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1986. Report on San Miguel (El Salvador) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 11:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198601-343100

San Miguel

El Salvador

13.434°N, 88.269°W; summit elev. 2130 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Weak steam and ash emission accompanied by frequent small earthquakes began in November and were continuing in early February. The eruption deposited a thin layer of ash near the summit. Geologists installed a telemetering seismometer about 1 km from the summit, recording about 200 discrete microseismic events/day from November through much of January. By the end of January, seismic activity had declined somewhat, to 100-120 events/day.

Geological Summary. The symmetrical cone of San Miguel, one of the most active volcanoes in El Salvador, rises from near sea level to form one of the country's most prominent landmarks. A broad, deep, crater complex that has been frequently modified by eruptions recorded since the early 16th century caps the truncated unvegetated summit, also known locally as Chaparrastique. Flanks eruptions of the basaltic-andesitic volcano have produced many lava flows, including several during the 17th-19th centuries that extended to the N, NE, and SE. The SE-flank flows are the largest and form broad, sparsely vegetated lava fields crossed by highways and a railroad skirting the base of the volcano. Flank vent locations have migrated higher on the edifice during historical time, and the most recent activity has consisted of minor ash eruptions from the summit crater.

Information Contacts: José González and Salvador Jesus, Dept de Sismología, Centro de Investigaciones Geotécnicas, San Salvador, El Salvador; David Harlow, USGS.