Latest news from Santa Maria volcano:
Thursday, Dec 05, 2013
Explosive and effusive activity have continued with little variation. Explosions sent ash plumes up to 700 m above the crater, and block lava effusion continues mainly at the eastern side of the Caliente dome where weak to moderate constant avalanches occur. [more]
Saturday, Nov 30, 2013
Activity has been mainly effusive during the past days; no or few explosions occurred yesterday. The volcano observatory reports abundant avalanches from the active lava flows mainly on the NE side of the Caliente lava dome. [more]
Santa María / Santiaguito volcanoSymmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of the most prominent of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. Santa Maria erupted catastrophically in 1902 destroying its former summit. Since then, a complex of new lava domes have been growing inside the scar left by the 1902 eruption. The youngest and still active dome is called Santiaguito. Santa Maria is a popular excursion destination and the summit offers spectacular views onto erupting Santiaguito.
Background:The 3772-m-high stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a large, 1.5-km-wide crater. The oval-shaped crater extends from just below the summit of Volcán Santa María 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 westward-younging vents, the most recent of which is Caliente. Dome growth has been accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions, with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars.