Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 2 January-8 January 2013
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 January-8 January 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 2 January-8 January 2013. 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 2-3 January explosions from Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex produced plumes that rose 300 m. During 2-4 January the lava-flow front on the S flank was incandescent because avalanches exposed the hot interior. A weak explosion was detected on 4 January. Explosions during 5-8 January produced ash plumes that drifted W and SW. Lava flows were active on the NE, SE, SW, and NW flanks.
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.