Title

Unearthing the Eruptive Personality of El Salvador’s Santa Ana (Ilamatepec) Volcano through In-depth Stratigraphic Analysis of Pre-1904 Deposits

Document Type

Poster Session

Publication Date

12-2011

Abstract

The Santa Ana (Ilamatepec) volcano (2384 m) in densely populated El Salvador Central America presents serious volcanic hazard potential. The volcano is a prevalent part of every day life in El Salvador; the sugarcane and coffee belt of the country are to its Southern and Western flanks, recreational areas lies to its East, and second and third largest cities of El Salvador exist within its 25 km radius. Understanding the eruptive characteristics and history is imperative due to the volcano’s relative size (the highest in the country) and it’s explosive, composite nature. Historical records indicate at least 9 potential VEI 3 eruptions since 1521 AD. The volcano’s relative inaccessibility and potential hazards do not promote a vast reservoir of research activity, as can be seen in the scarcity of published papers on topics prior to the 1904 eruption. This research represents the first steps towards creating a comprehensive stratigraphic record of the crater and characterizing its eruptive history, with an eventual goal of recreating the volcanic structure prior to its collapse. Samples of pre-1904 eruptive material were taken from the southern wall of an E-W oriented fluvial gully located within the SSW of the tertiary crater. These were analyzed using thin sections and optical microscopy, grain size distribution techniques, and scanning electron microscopy. The 15-layer sequence indicates an explosive history characterized by intense phreatomagmatic phases, plinian, sub-plinian and basaltic/andesitic composition strombolian activity. Another poster within the session will discuss an older sequence within the walls of the secondary crater. Further detailed studies will be required to gain a better understanding of the characteristics of Santa Ana Volcano.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Presented at AGU Fall Meeting on December 5-9, 2011, in San Francisco, CA

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