The Santa Maria Volcano towers over Guatemala’s Pacific coastal plain. Intermittently active, the volcano released a plume in mid-January 2007. Days earlier, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite took this picture of Santa Maria, on January 10, 2007.
Made from a combination of light visible to human eyes and infrared light, this image shows a 150-meter hotspot at the summit of one of the volcano’s vents. Highlighted in red, the appropriately named Caliente (Spanish for “hot”) Vent is part of Santa Maria’s Santiaguito dome complex, a set of multiple volcanic domes. This dome complex began growing in 1922. Other features of the volcano peek through the clouds floating overhead, including sharp ridges around Caliente and down the volcano’s flanks.
Santa Maria is a 3,772-meter (12,375-foot)-tall stratovolcano consisting of alternating layers of hardened ash, lava, and rock. A catastrophic eruption in 1902 caused severe damage throughout southwestern Guatemala and carved a crater on the volcano’s flank.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the NASA, GSFC, METI, ERSDAC, JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.
Image courtesy of Kelly Durst and Matt Patrick, Michigan Technological University.
Intermittently active, the Santa Maria Volcano released a plume in mid-January 2007.
The eruption of Santa Maria volcano in 1902 was one of the largest eruptions of the 20th century, forming a large crater on the mountain’s southwest flank. Since 1922, a lava-dome complex, Santiaguito, has been forming in the 1902 crater. Growth of the dome has produced pyroclastic flows as recently as the 2001—they can be identified in this image. The volcano is considered dangerous because of the possibility of a dome collapse such as one that occurred in 1929, which killed about 5000 people. A second hazard results from the flow of volcanic debris into rivers south of Santiaguito, which can lead tocatastrophic flooding and mud flows.