Volcan Santa Maria de Santiaguito

    Guatemala  12.30.08 - 07.01.09  

Martin Rietze, Marc Szeglat

in deutsch


Landscape of SMA and the Google bird eye view (center)

Despite the seesaw changes in the last autumn (nothing in things volcanic journeys should succeed ) Marc and I decided to take a short trip from the 12.30.08-1.7.09 to Guatemala. The reports announced an active behavior of all volcanos in the area. But due to our short time budged we decided to observe the Santa Maria volcano which seemed to be most aesthetic one at this time.


Tents turned out to be a good protection against the frosty and windy nights

Therefore we positioned ourselves in Quetzaltenango and spent the new years eve unfortunately in a modest nebula weather at the Mirador on the flank of the Sta. Maria.



Beside a few insignificant eruptions only one larger eruption occurred in the dawn. On the first of  January this activities conveyed some strong ash clouds with much Lapili and also some pyroclastic flows at the South side . We spent the following days below the Santa Maria summit in our tents, and unfortunately the eruptive activity weakened itself at the next days. (During the ascent strong ashrain prevailed!)



Only in the night some more remarkable eruptions could be observed, even with flash lightning formations. Further, I could observe blue sulfur burning for the first time during the eruptions at the Sante Maria de Aguito. Unfortunately the moon was located in the first quarter, so that the natural moon light was very unfavorable. To illustrate these night eruptions was very difficult.


Neither in published pictures nor during my visits of the last years comparable photos was to be seen. The different gases produced an almost surreal multicolored eruption basis. This colors appears particularly in the photos, whereas the free eye is usually too less sensitive for the quite large distance of  may 2km.





After a recovery in the city life of Quetzaltenango and Antigua  the home journey took place.


More at ALPE, images by M.Rietze

Marc Szeglat: vulkane.net 


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2008 Photos und Text by M.Rietze (mr), web and translation T.boeckel, last modification 02.24.2009

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