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Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 11 January-17 January 2006

Santa Maria

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
11 January-17 January 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 January-17 January 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (11 January-17 January 2006)

Santa Maria


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During 11-13 January, several explosions occurred at Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex, producing ash plumes that rose to ~1.5 km above the volcano (or 17,300 ft a.s.l.) and drifted SW. Lava avalanches originated from the SW edge of the Caliente dome. An explosion on the morning of 11 January generated a small pyroclastic flow that traveled down Caliente dome to the NE. INSIVUMEH reported on 16 January that a slight decrease in explosive activity was observed at the volcnao during the previous month, with small-to-moderate explosions producing ash clouds that rose to ~1 km above the crater (or 15,650 ft a.s.l.). On the 16th there were reports of a small amount of ashfall in the urban area of San Felipe Retalhuleu.

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.

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