Santa Maria erupts, pyroclastic flows detected, Guatemala

santa-maria-wake-up-again

Explosions from Santa María's Santiaguito lava dome complex produced ash plumes that rose 800 m above the Caliente dome and drifted SW during March 2 – 3. 

Two pyroclastic flows were also detected. Ashfall was reported in multiple areas downwind. Based on analyses of satellite imagery, the Washington VAAC reported that ash was detected on March. 6 The next day an ash plume drifted almost 20 km SouthWest.


During March 7 – 8 the seismic network detected explosions, avalanches, and pyroclastic flows. At least eight pyroclastic flows descended the flank and deposited material in Rio Nima II. Ash plumes rose 1 km causing ashfall in areas downwind.

Symmetrical, forest-covered Santa María volcano is one of a chain of large stratovolcanoes that rises dramatically above the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The stratovolcano has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a large, 1-km-wide crater, which formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902 and extends from just below the summit to the lower flank. The renowned Plinian eruption of 1902 followed a long repose period and devastated much of SW Guatemala. The large 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, accompanied by almost continuous minor explosions and periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars. (GVP)

INSIVUMEH Guatemala

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