The active stratovolcano of Santa Maria is situated to the west of Guatemala, in the immediate vicinity to the city of Quetzaltenango. It’s about 3,770 meters high. According to scientists, the first eruption of Santa Maria volcano occurred about 30,000 years ago. First recorded eruption has been a little over a hundred years ago, in 1902; it has claimed the lives of six thousand people.
The eruption has been so strong that residents of Costa Rica have heard the preceding explosion at a distance of 800 kilometers. Height of the ash stem has been about 28 kilometers; the eruption has thrown out at least 5.5 cubic kilometers of lava. This eruption was one of the most powerful and tragic in the 20th century. In 1922, a new Santiaguito mouth has formed that can be found an altitude of about 2,500 meters.
Travelers have a unique opportunity to rise to the extinct volcano crater and observe the volcanic activity that doesn’t stop for a minute. According to scientists, such large-scale and destructive eruptions of Santa Maria aren’t expected in the near future, so numerous tourists are attracted to those places. Even during its sleep volcano constitutes a great threat because of mudslides on its slopes. The foothill town of El Palmar has suffered from them twice. Now it’s prohibited to visit mountain areas during the rainy season. Next - Mayon