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Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) — 7 February-13 February 2024

Santa Maria

Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 February-13 February 2024
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert. Written by Zachary W. Hastings.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2024. Report on Santa Maria (Guatemala) (Hastings, Z W, and Sennert, S, eds.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 February-13 February 2024. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (7 February-13 February 2024)

Santa Maria


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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

INSIVUMEH reported that eruptive activity continued at Santa Maria’s Santiaguito lava dome complex during 7-13 February with lava extrusion at the Caliente dome. Weak, moderate, and sometimes abundant degassing was observed daily and rose as high as 200 m above the crater. Incandescence from the dome and upper lava flow was visible during most nights and early mornings. Daily explosions generated gas-and-ash plumes that rose as high as 900 m above the dome and drifted S, SW, W, and NW. The explosions produced block avalanches around the dome and along the SE, S, SW, and W flanks. Explosions generated short-range pyroclastic flows that descended the E and SE flanks on 9 February and the S, SW, and W flanks on 12 February. On 8 February ashfall was observed in the direct vicinity of the volcano.

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 E 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)