Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 14 December-20 December 2005
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
14 December-20 December 2005
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2005. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 December-20 December 2005. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
14.757°N, 91.552°W; summit elev. 3745 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 13 December, several weak-to-strong explosions occurred at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex, producing ash plumes to a maximum height of ~2.5 km above the volcano (or 20,600 ft a.s.l.) that mainly drifted SW. Avalanches of volcanic material spalled off of the fronts of active lava flows.
Geological Summary. 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.