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Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 28 November-4 December 2012

Santa Maria

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
28 November-4 December 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 28 November-4 December 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (28 November-4 December 2012)

Santa Maria


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

INSIVUMEH reported in a special bulletin on 28 November that collapses of the fronts of lava flows on the flanks of Santa María's Santiaguito lava-dome complex generated pyroclastic flows and ash plumes that rose 2.4 km and drifted 30 km S, SW, and W. Activity decreased during 28-29 November. During 29-30 November block avalanches were generated from the S edge of the crater. Pyroclastic flows generated ash plumes that rose 3.2 km and drifted 10-15 km SW, WSW, and W. Rumbling sounds were reported in areas 7 km away. During 1-2 December incandescent avalanches descended the SW lava dome. During 3-4 December a new lava flow in the crater was incandescent, and produced block avalanches and ash plumes which drifted 10 km W and SW.

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)