Logo link to homepage

Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 31 August-6 September 2016

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 August-6 September 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 31 August-6 September 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (31 August-6 September 2016)

Santa Maria


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

INSIVUMEH reported that explosions at 0001, 0015, and 0018 on 4 September generated a mushroom-shaped ash plume that rose 2 km above Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex and drifted SE and E. Pyroclastic flows traveled 2 km down the WSW, S, and SE flanks. Ash fell in Santa María de Jesús. On 5 September the seismic network recorded two moderate explosions. Gas emissions rose from the complex during 5-6 September.

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.

Source: Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)