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Guatemala: explosive eruption at Santiaguito 27 April 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Guatemala, Santa María, volcanoes.
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The Santiaguito lava dome complex at Guatemala’s Santa María volcano erupted yesterday, producing four explosions between approximately 18:50 and 20:00 local time and throwing an ash-laden plume up to altitudes of between 7.3 and 8.5 km. The Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (Insivumeh) described two of the explosions as ‘strong’ and the other two as ‘moderate to strong’ in intensity. Guatemalan newspaper El Periódico reports that ash reached 8.5 km above sea level, while Washington VAAC gives the altitude as FL 240 (24,000 feet / 7.3 km) in a volcanic ash advisory issued at 14:44 GMT on 26 April (later advisories issued at 15:15 GMT and 17:43 GMT say that some ash was reported at FL280 (28,000 feet / 8.5 km) and FL300 (30,000 feet / 9.1 km).

According to an Insivumeh volcanologist quoted by El Periódico, people in local communities were alarmed by small earthquakes during the eruption, and ashfall created visibility problems on nearby roads. Local people had noticed rumblings from the volcano during the night of 25 April, reports El Quetzalteco. The districts of Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán, San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Suchitepéquez, Retalhuleu and Sololá have been affected by ashfall, and classes in local schools have been suspended. Largely because of the ashfall hazard, Guatemala’s state emergencies agency, the Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (Conred), has raised the alert level at Santiaguito to Orange (Naranja).

Research Note. For expert insight into ever-active Santiaguito, check out Jessica Ball’s richly-illustrated reports at Magma Cum Laude: Santiaguito Volcano Observatory (19 March 2010), Looking backward: Past eruptions at Volcán Santa Maria (15 March 2010), Santiaguito lava dome complex (27 March 2009), Lava domes, coffee, and a little bit of shaking (20 March 2009). Santiaguito is the focus of Jessica’s work on lava domes. Highly recommended.

El volcán Santiaguito hace declarar alerta naranjaEl Periódico de Guatemala, 26 April 2010
Alerta Naranja por ceniza de volcán – El Quetzalteco, 27 April 2010
Declaran en Guatemala alerta naranja por erupción de volcán Santiaguito – ABC, 27 April 2010
Volcano spews sand, ash over GuatemalaSydney Morning Herald, 27 April 2010

Global Volcanism Program: Santa María – summary information for Santa María (1402-03=)
Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrologia – main page for Guatemala’s volcanological authority

The Volcanism Blog