Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 19 January-25 January 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
19 January-25 January 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 19 January-25 January 2022. 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 the eruption at Santa María’s Santiaguito lava-dome complex continued during 19-25 January. Crater incandescence was visible at night. Avalanches generated by both lava effusion at the W and SW part of Caliente dome and collapsing material descended the W, SW, and SE flanks, often reaching the base of the dome. Periodically the avalanches produced curtains of ash along their paths that dissipated near the volcano. Almost daily explosions produced ash plumes that rose 700-900 m above the summit and drifted 10-15 km W and SW; ashfall was reported in areas downwind during 21-23 January including in San Marcos Palajunoj (8 km SW) and Loma Linda (6 km WSW). Lava flows on the W and SW flanks were 500 and 700 m long, respectively.
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.