Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 4 January-10 January 2023
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 January-10 January 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 4 January-10 January 2023. 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 3-10 January. Effusion from Caliente cone fed lava flows that descended the San Isidro and El Tambor drainages on the W and SW flanks. Occasional block avalanches from the dome, and from both the ends and sides of the flows, descended the S, SW, and W flanks. The avalanches sometimes generated minor ash plumes that rose along their paths. Almost daily explosions produced gas-and-steam plumes with minor amounts of ash that rose as high as 800 m above the complex and sometimes drifted 5-8 km SW. Ashfall was reported in Las Marías (10 km S) and El Viejo Palmar (11 km S) during 8-9 January.
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.