Latest news from Santa Maria volcano:
Friday, Apr 18, 2014
No significant changes in the currently relatively low activity have been reported. Occasional small to moderate explosions and weak avalanches from the active lava flow on the SE side of the dome occurred during 16-17 April. [more]
Thursday, Apr 10, 2014
Activity has not changed much over the past weeks. The observatory reports moderate explosions ejecting gray ash plumes rising up to about 800 m and causing light ash falls in areas to the west of the 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.
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