Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 29 May-4 June 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 May-4 June 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 May-4 June 2019. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INSIVUMEH and CONRED reported that during 29-30 May lahars descended Santa María's San Isidro drainage (tributary of El Tambor), carrying blocks 1-3 m in diameter and tree trunks. The lahars were 20 m wide and 1.5 m deep; CONRED noted that the 29 May lahar was hot and had a sulfur odor. Explosions recorded during 30 May-4 June generated ash plumes that rose as high as 800 m above the crater and drifted E and SE. Avalanches of material descended the E and SE flanks.
Geologic Background. Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that 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 westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.