Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 22 August-28 August 2012
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 August-28 August 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 August-28 August 2012. 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 during 22-26 August explosions from Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex produced ash plumes that rose 700 m above Caliente dome and drifted SW. Block avalanches originated from the fronts of multiple active flows, particularly on the SE flank. Fumarolic plumes rose 150-400 m and drifted SW. During 25-26 August ashfall was reported in Monte Claro (S). An explosion on 27 August produced a white plume that rose 600 m and drifted SE, causing ashfall in San Jose. Avalanches descended the SE flank.
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.