Santa María Volcano | John Seach


Quezaltenango, Guatemala

14.756 N, 91.552 W
summit elevation 3772 m

Santa Maria volcano is located 60 km from the Pacific coast of Guatemala, 100 km west of Guatemala City. Santiaguito lava-dome complex has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922.

2013 Eruptions
Eruptions continue at Santa Maria volcano in January 2013 with explosions to altitude 2800 m and active lava flow producing avalanches.

2012 Earthquake
A magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit 84 km SSW of Santa Maria volcano on 7th November 2012. The earthquake had a focus at a depth of 42 km. Initial reports indicate a tsunami was generated.

2011 Eruptions
On 3rd March 2011 an explosion occurred from Caliente crater at Santa Maria volcano in Guatemala. Ash emissions reached 10,800 ft above sea level and produced ashfall in towns to the west and southwest of the volcano. The explosion generated a pyroclastic flow which moved 2.5 km down the southwest flank. Activity continued on 4th March with moderate explosions ejecting ash to a height of 11,000 ft above sea level, and ash fall on surrounding farms.

2010 Eruptions
On 2nd January 2010 there was a collapse of the eastern part of the crater of Santiaguito, producing a pyroclastic flow which reached the base of the crater. On the 4th January there were three explosions which produced an ash column 200 m high.

2009 Eruptions
Eruption occurred at Santa Maria volcano on 26th and 29th June from Santiaguito lava dome. Ash plumes reached a height of 10,800 ft above sea level.

2008 Eruptions
Continued eruption occurred at Santa Maria volcano in 2008. Santiaguito dome continued to explode, creating ash plumes, and collapse, creating avalanches which descended the flanks.

1902 Eruption
One of the largest eruptions of the 20th century occurred at Santa Maria Volcano in 1902. The eruption of Santa Maria occurred on October 24 to 26, 1902. Explosions were heard in Costa Rica 850 km south of the volcano. Sulphurous odours reached Coban, 160 km to the NE and shock waves rattled windows in the town. On 25th October a Captain from the mailboat S.S. Newport, off the Pacific coast, measured the column height at 27 to 29 km using the ship's sextant. Thousands of people died and most of Guatemala's coffee industry was destroyed. The eruption left a 700 x 1,000 m crater in the SW flank of Santa Maria Volcano.

Growth of a dacite dome called Santiaguito began in this crater in 1922. The largest pyroclastic flow since 1922 took place in 1929 at Santa Maria Volcano and killed from hundreds to as many as 5,000 persons.

Almost continuous volcanic activity has occurred since 1922.

Further reading
Berry, H.C., Cashman, K.V. and Williams, C.A., 2020. The 1902 Plinian eruption of Santa María volcano, Guatemala: A new assessment of magnitude and impact using historical sources. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, p.107167.

Williams, S.N. and Self, S., 1983. The october 1902 plinian eruption of Santa María volcano, Guatemala. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research16(1-2), pp.33-56.

Rose Jr, W.I., Grant, N.K., Hahn, G.A., Lange, I.M., Powell, J.L., Easter, J. and Degraff, J.M., 1977. The evolution of Santa Maria volcano, Guatemala. The Journal of Geology85(1), pp.63-87.

Rose, W.I., 1972. Notes on the 1902 eruption of Santa Maria volcano, Guatemala. Bulletin Volcanologique36(1), pp.29-45.

Santa María Volcano Eruptions

1922-2021, 1903-13, 1902