Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 3 May-9 May 2017
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 May-9 May 2017
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2017. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 3 May-9 May 2017. 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 10-12 explosions at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex were detected by the seismic network during 4-5 May. Beginning at 2145 on 6 May a strong lahar, 30 m wide and 2.5 m deep, descended the Cabello de Ángel drainage, a tributary of the Nimá I river drainage on Santa María’s S flank, carrying branches, tree trunks, and blocks up to 2 m in diameter.
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.