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Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 22 December-28 December 2004

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 December-28 December 2004
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 December-28 December 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (22 December-28 December 2004)

Santa Maria


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

On 22 December, explosions at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex produced ash plumes to 700-1,300 m above the dome. Small collapses occurred from lava-flow fronts on the SW side of Caliente Dome. According to the Washington VAAC, ash plumes were visible on satellite imagery on several days during 22-27 December.

Geologic Background. 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.

Sources: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH), Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)