Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 25 May-31 May 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
25 May-31 May 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, 25 May-31 May 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 23-31 May. Incandescence from Caliente crater and the lava flows on the W and SW flanks was visible nightly and during some early mornings. Avalanches of incandescent blocks descended the W, SW, and S flanks of Caliente. The lava flows continued to advance in the San Isidro channel, and produced block avalanches from the ends and sides of the flows that descended the S, SW, and S flanks. Ash from these avalanches fell in areas on and around the volcano. The lava flow was 3.3 km long by 27 May. Cement-like lahars descended the Cabello de Ángel drainage (a tributary of Nimá I on the SE flank) during 27-28 May, carrying tree trunks, branches, and blocks up to 1 m in diameter.
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.