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 Guatemala's Volcanoes (37)


Pacaya Volcano - 2560 mt.

December 2009
Present low flow eruption August 13, 2006 (ongoing since April 2006)

Past Eruptions

Pacaya current eruption (May 2006) Walking on recent
solidified Lava (Pacaya May 2006)
The Volcán de Pacaya massif rises above skyscrapers of the capital city of Guatemala, located only 30 km to the north. The rounded, forested lava dome of Cerro Grande forms the 2560 m high point at the left. The twin peak at the right is the historically active vent of Pacaya, with the right-hand summit being MacKenney cone, which has been active since 1965. The modern cone was constructed within an arcuate caldera whose rim forms the ridge on either side. Eruptions of Pacaya are often visible from Guatemala City
Pacaya Photo  

SACATEPEQUEZ Fuego, Agua and Acatenango 
 View from Guatemala City

Fuego 3763mt.    

Volcán Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, is one of three large stratovolcanoes overlooking Guatemala's former capital, Antigua. The scarp of an older edifice, Meseta, lies between 3763-m-high Fuego and its twin volcano to the north, Acatenango. Construction of Meseta volcano dates back to about 230,000 years and continued until the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. Collapse of Meseta volcano may have produced the massive Escuintla debris-avalanche deposit, which extends about 50 km onto the Pacific coastal plain. Growth of the modern Fuego volcano followed, continuing the southward migration of volcanism that began at Acatenango. In contrast to the mostly andesitic Acatenango volcano, eruptions at Fuego have become more mafic with time, and most historical activity has produced basaltic rocks. Frequent vigorous historical eruptions have been recorded at Fuego since the onset of the Spanish era in 1524, and have produced major ashfalls, along with occasional pyroclastic flows and lava flows

Fuego Photo
Fuego Volcano in Activity, view from Antigua

Sunset, view from Guatemala City, Agua, Fuego and Acatenango Volcanoes
Fuego and Acatenango Volcanoes, Sacatepéquez Fuego and Agua Volcanoes, Sacatepéquez Acatenango
Fuego and Acatenango Volcanoes in activity Fuego view from Acatenango Fuego

Acatenango, 3946 mt.

Acatenango, along with its twin volcano to the south, Volcán Fuego, overlooks the historic former capital city of Antigua, Guatemala. Acatenango, which has two principal summits, was constructed during three eruptive periods post-dating the roughly 85,000-year-old Los Chocoyos tephra from Atitlán caldera. An ancestral Acatenango volcano collapsed to the south sometime prior to 43,000 years ago, forming La Democracia debris-avalanche deposit, which covers a wide area of the Pacific coastal plain. Construction of Yepocapa, the northern summit of Acatenango, was completed about 20,000 years ago, after which growth of the southern and highest cone, Pico Central (also known as Pico Mayor), began. The first well-documented eruptions of Acatenango took place from 1924 to 1927, although earlier historical eruptions may have occurred. Francisco Vasquez, writing in 1690, noted that in 1661 a volcano that lay aside of Fuego "opened a smoking mouth and still gives off smoke from another three, but without noise.

Volcán de Agua  3720 mt.

The symmetrical, forested Volcán de Agua stratovolcano forms an impressive backdrop to the historic former capital city of Antigua Guatemala, opposite the twin volcanoes of Fuego and Acatenango. The 3760-m-high basaltic-andesite to andesite Agua volcano has an isolated position that makes it a prominent landmark from all directions. A small, 280-m-wide circular crater is breached on the NNE side. Six small pit craters are located on the NW flank, and two small cones lie on the south flank. Agua's symmetrical profile implies a relatively young age, although currently no dated Holocene tephra deposits are known. Agua has had no historical eruptions, but its name (the water volcano) originates from a devastating mudflow on September 11, 1541. The mudflow destroyed the second Guatemalan capital city established by the Spanish Conquistadors, which is now known as Ciudad Vieja. The catastrophe prompted the establishment of a new capital city at nearby Antigua.

Agua Volcano view from Escuintla

Agua Volcano, and Ciudad Vieja

Guatemala City, Agua Volcano
Smoke is from Fuego Volcano, behind
Agua from the Pacaya the Tolimán and Atitlan, in the  back


Agua Volcano, From Antigua Guatemala


Almolonga, 3197mt,

Volcán de Almolonga is an andesitic stratovolcano with a 3.3-km-wide late-Pleistocene central caldera that is located along the Zunil fault zone. The caldera is surrounded by a ring-dike configuration of dacitic and rhyolitic lava domes. The youngest and only historically active dome complex is Cerro Quemado (whose name means Burned Peak), located immediately south of Guatemala's second largest city, Quetzaltenango. About 1200 radiocarbon years ago, part of the andesitic-to-dacitic Cerro Quemado dome collapsed, producing a debris avalanche and an associated lateral explosion that swept across the valley to the west as far as the flanks of Siete Orejas volcano. The latest eruption in 1818 produced a blocky 2.5-km-long lava flow. Hot springs are located on the northern and eastern flanks of Cerro Quemado, and the Zuníl geothermal field, the site of a geothermal exploration project, lies on the SE flank of Cerro Quemado.

Almolonga Photo  
Chicabal, 2990 mt. Quetzaltenango  
Chicabal (Volcano) (12671 bytes)  
  Lagoon in Crater  
Santo Tomás, 3505 mt. Quetzaltenango
Volcán Santo Tomás (also known as Volcán Pecul) is a large eroded stratovolcano located across a valley SE of Santa María volcano. The summit of the volcano is capped by late-Quaternary andesitic tephra. A winding ridge connects Santo Tomás to Volcán de Zunil, 4.5 km to the NE, a 3542-m-high stratovolcano that forms the topographic high point of the Santo Tomás - Zunil complex. Volcán de Zunil is located on the SW rim of the 4-km-wide, 600-m-deep Tzanjuyub caldera, which is breached to the south by the Río Masa. Several dacitic-rhyolitic lava domes are located on the caldera's northern flank and the NW flank of Volcán de Zunil. The youngest dome, Cerro Zunil, was last active about 84,000 years ago (K-Ar dating). No Holocene eruptions are known from Santo Tomás, although it was included in the Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World (Mooser et al., 1958) based on its geothermal activity. Solfataras and thermal springs are located on the west side of the ridge between Santo Tomás and Zunil
Santo Tomas (Volcano) (9762 bytes) Santo Tomás Photo
Siete Orejas (Seven Ears)

Zunil 3542 mt. , Quetzaltenango

Santiaguito, Santa María and Zunil, View from Cerro Quemado

Santa María 3572 mt. and Santiaguito. Quetzaltenango.

Santa María volcano, the most active in Guatemala, has a sharp-topped, conical profile that is cut on the SW flank by a large, 1-km-wide crater formed during a catastrophic eruption in 1902. The large dacitic Santiaguito lava-dome complex (center) has been growing at the base of the 1902 crater since 1922. Lava flows can be seen extending down the flank of the compound lava dome, whose growth is accompanied by a frequent minor explosions, along with periodic lava extrusion, larger explosions, pyroclastic flows, and lahars
Santa María Photo

Quetzaltenango City

View to the East from Santa María

View From Summit

Santiaguito 2520 mt Crater, Quetzaltenango

View from Santa Maria's Summit
    Santa Maria, Zunil, Santiaguito


Lake Atitlán  volcanoes:

 Atitlán, 3557 mt,  

Volcán Atitlán is one of several prominent conical stratovolcanoes in the Guatemalan highlands. Along with its twin volcano Tolimán to the north, it forms a dramatic backdrop to Lake Atitlán, one of the scenic highlights of the country. The 3535-m-high summit of Atitlán directly overlies the inferred margin of the Pleistocene Atitlán III caldera and is the highest of three large post-caldera stratovolcanoes constructed near the southern caldera rim. The volcano consequently post-dates the eruption of the voluminous, roughly 85,000-year-old rhyolitic Los Chocoyos tephra associated with formation of the Atitlán III caldera. The historically active andesitic Volcán Atitlán is younger than Tolimán, although their earlier activity overlapped. In contrast to Tolimán, Atitlán displays a thick pyroclastic cover. The northern side of the volcano is wooded to near the summit, whereas the upper 1000 m of the southern slopes are unvegetated. Predominantly explosive eruptions have been recorded from Volcán Atitlán since the 15th century


  San Pedro, 3027 mt.

San Pedro Volcano Lake Atitlán, with the San Pedro volcano in the background. San Pedro Volcano

  Tolimán,3158 mt.

Volcán Tolimán is a large andesitic stratovolcano that rises above the south shore of Lake Atitlán. Tolimán was constructed within the Pleistocene Atitlán III caldera, near its inferred southern margin. A shallow elliptical crater truncates the summit, and a minor subsidiary peak to the SSW also has a shallow crater. In contrast to the tephra-covered surface of its twin volcano to the south, Volcán Atitlán, the surface of Tolimán is draped by prominent thick lava flows. Many of the flows were erupted from vents on the volcano's flanks and form a highly irregular shoreline on the south side of Lake Atitlán. No historical eruptions are known from Tolimán. However, a lava flow that entered Lake Atitlán from the parasitic lava dome of Cerro de Oro on the northern flank was considered by Newhall et al. (1987) to be less than a few thousand years old based on the thickness of sediment accumulated on the sublacustral part of the flow.
Tolimán Photo
   Volcan Toliman Crater, (Laguna Seca or Plaza de Toros)


 Cerro de Oro 1858 m.

Cerro de Oro and San Pedro

Cerro de Oro

Tahual,1716 mt

Deeply dissected Volcán Tahual rises about 700 m above plains south of the town of Monjas. The summit of the 1716-m-high forested stratovolcano is cut by a broad erosional crater that extends to the base of the volcano and is narrowly breached to the NE. A Holocene pyroclastic cone near the NE base of Volcán Tahual fed a short basaltic lava flow (Williams et al., 1964). The scenic lake-filled Laguna de Hoyo lies north of the volcano. This steep-walled crater and the NE-flank cinder cone lie along faults bordering a graben that extends across the eastern base of the volcano to neighboring Retana caldera on the SE.
 Tahual Photo  
  El Hoyo Lagoon on Crater  


Cuxliquel, 2140 mt

Modern Altar in Summit
Tajumulco Volcano 4220 mt.
Tajumulco is Guatemala's highest peak and the highest volcano in Central America. Two summits, one with a 50-70 m wide crater, lie along a NW-SE line. A lava flow from the 4220-m-high NW summit traveled down a deep valley on the NW flank. The andesitic-dacitic volcano was constructed over the NW end of a large arcuate SW-facing escarpment of uncertain origin. Tajumulco has had several unconfirmed reports of historical eruptions. Sapper (1917) considered Tajumulco to have erupted during historical time, but without accurate dates. The volcano was reported to eject many rocks, destroying houses on October 24, 1765, but this may have been a rock avalanche. Juarros reported some eruptions before 1808, and there are unlikely reports of eruptions in 1821 (or 1822), 1863, and 1893 (Incer 1988, unpublished manuscript).
Tajumulco Photo
(tallest in Central América (4290 mt.) San Marcos Tajumulco from San Marcos Highlands Sunset at Tajumulco, view from Tacaná summit

Snowed Summit, Dec 2009

Snowed Summit, Dec 2009

Where to Start the climbing

 December 2009

 Guatemala's Volcanic Chain from   Tajumulco summit

View from top

View from the Pacific Snowed Crater (January) Tajumulco summit Jan 2010
Tacaná Volcano (4,092mts High)

Tacaná is a 4060-m-high composite stratovolcano that straddles the México/Guatemala border at the NW end of the Central American volcanic belt. The volcano rises 1800 m above deeply dissected plutonic and metamorphic terrain. The elongated summit region is dominated by a series of lava domes intruded along a NE-SW trend. Volcanism has migrated to the SW, and a small adventive lava dome is located in the crater of the youngest volcano, San Antonio, on the upper SW flank. Viscous lava flow complexes are found on the north and south flanks, and lobate lahar deposits fill many valleys. Radial drainages on the Guatemalan side are deflected by surrounding mountains into the Pacific coastal plain on the SW side of the volcano. Historical activity has been restricted to mild phreatic eruptions, but more powerful explosive activity, including the production of pyroclastic flows, has occurred as recently as about 1950 years ago.

view from San Marcos Lowlands

Tacaná from San Marcos HighlandS
Tacaná Photo

Early morning View from Tajumulco (Shadow)
Tecuamburro, 1995 mt.    Cruz Quemada 1,690m
Tecuamburro is a small, forested stratovolcano or large lava-dome complex of mostly Pleistocene age. It is located about 50 km ESE of Guatemala City, about 20 km south of the main volcanic chain. An ancestral andesitic stratovolcano, Miraflores, was formed about 100,000 years ago. Tecuamburro and other lava domes were constructed during the late Pleistocene or early Holocene within a horseshoe-shaped, east-facing caldera produced by structural failure of the older Miraflores stratovolcano prior to about 38,000 years ago. One of the largest of these domes, Peña Blanca, overtops the NW rim of the collapse scarp. Two nested craters, the larger of which is Chupadero, lie at the NW end of the complex. The smaller crater is a phreatic tuff ring, Laguna Ixpaco, that was formed about 2900 years ago during the latest dated eruption of the Tecuamburro complex. Numerous fumaroles, hot springs, and boiling mud pots are found in the area around the acidic lake. No historical eruptions are known from Tecuamburro.

Volcano and Sulphur Ixpacó lagoon inside the crater
Tecuamburro Photo
Volcano Cruz Quemada, Santa María Ixhuatán  
Jumaytepeque 1815 mt.
This volcano is easy to climb and from the top you have a view of  Ayarza. Lagoon This beautiful blue lake of 14 km2 is situated in a pair of twin volcanic depressions at an elevation of 1,490m (4,888 ft). It appears that once there were twin volcanoes here which erupted with such force that they emptied their magma chambers and collapsed into the ground leaving twin circular depressions forming a figure 8.
Cuilapa-Barberena   1454 m

The Cuilapa-Barbarena volcanic field contains approximately 70 Quaternary cinder cones, generally less than 100 m high. Many of the mostly basaltic cones are located along the strike of the major regional Jalpatagua fault, which extends SE from Guatemala City, north of the chain of stratovolcanoes stretching across Guatemala. The cones were erupted from fracture systems related to the intersection of the Jalpatagua fault with the southern and western margins of the Miocene Santa Rosa de Lima caldera and overlie pyroclastic-flow deposits from Amatitlán caldera to the NW. The age of the most recent eruptions is not known, although the youngest cones post-date the last phase of eruptive activity at Tecuamburro volcano and could be of Holocene age (Reynolds, 1987). Williams (1960) considered the most recent eruptions from the Cuilapa-Barbarena volcanic field to have occurred within the last few thousand years

 Cuilapa-Barbarena Photo    


Tobón,  1800 mt. Jalapa
Alzatate,  2045 mt. Jalapa               Jumay 2,176 mt


Suchitán, 2042 mt.
Volcán Suchitán, NE of the city of Jutiapa, is one of the largest volcanoes in SE Guatemala. The 2042-m-high summit of the andesitic-to-basaltic stratovolcano is elongated in a N-S direction. Several large canyons cut the slopes of the dominantly andesitic edifice. A large parasitic cone, Cerro Mataltepeque, 1814 mts, is located on the upper northern flank, and two smaller cones are located on the lower northern flank. Two basaltic lava flows of Holocene age are located on the northern and NW flanks (Williams et al., 1964), and many flank vents are basaltic. Suchitán was constructed immediately to the east of the 5-km-wide basaltic-to-dacitic Retana caldera, formed in part in association with the eruption of a dacitic pumice deposit. Steep walls 60-250-m high rise above the flat caldera floor. One of the latest basaltic lava flows from Suchitán flowed through a low notch in the eastern caldera rim. Several lava cones and a maar are located along a N-S line north of Retana caldera. A reported eruption of Suchitán in 1469 is considered to have actually been from Atitlán volcano in the Guatemalan highlands.
Suchitán Photo  

Cerro Santiago  1192 m, Volcan Culma 1,027m

A cluster of  cones and low shield volcanoes surrounds the city of Jutiapa in SE Guatemala. The most prominent feature is Cerro Santiago, one of two coalescing cinder cones capping a low shield volcano SE of Jutiapa.,  flows from the twin Los Cerritos cones NE of Jutiapa cross the Interamerican highway. Volcán Culma forms a steep-sided basaltic lava mound immediately east of the city. To the west, Cerro Gordo or Volcano Amayo), a craterless cinder cone surrounded by basaltic lava flows. It is one of several cinder cones to have produced lava flows that blanket the landscape between Jutiapa and Tertiary volcanic hills to the south.

Cerro Santiago Photo
Volcán Culma
Amayo (Volcan de Flores) 1600+ m

Volcán de Flores is one of the largest of a cluster of small stratovolcanoes located in SE Guatemala behind the volcanic front. Volcán de Flores, also known as Volcán Amayo, lies about 10 km west of the city of Jutiapa, at the SW end of the SE Guatemala volcanic platform. The 1600-m-high summit rises up to 600 m above a basement of Cretaceous and Tertiary sedimentary rocks and contains a shallow crater breached on its eastern side. Satellitic cones occur at the southern and eastern base of the dominantly basaltic Flores volcano. Youthful lava flows occur at the NE base of the volcano, near El Aguacite


Las Viboras Volcano (The snaques) 1100 mts

Volcán las Viboras, a cinder cone 1100 mts,.that caps a basaltic shield volcano, is the most prominent of several fault-controlled cones near Laguna Atescatempo. Flank fissures have fed many youthful lava flows, particularly on the western flank of Chingo and the northern flank of Volcán las Viboras

Las Viboras Volcano and  Chingo near Atescatempa lagoon


Chiquimula Volcanic Field    1192 m

The Chiquimula volcanic field occupies a fault-bounded basin underlain by Cretaceous plutonic rocks in the Chiquimula Valley of SE Guatemala. Initial eruptions during the Pleistocene produced mesa-forming basaltic lava flows along the N-S-trending fault forming the eastern edge of the Ipala graben. These were followed by the eruption of widespread lava flows NW of Chiquimula town that covered about 12 sq km. The most recent eruptions produced basaltic cinder cones and lava flows near the northern edge of Chiquimula town. The cinder cones were constructed along a N-S-trending fracture, with Cerro Grande at the northern end being the largest and Cerro Chiquito at the southern end being the youngest. The lava flows from Cerro Chiquito are so fresh and sparsely vegetated they were considered by Williams et al. (1964) to possibly be less than 1000 years old.

Chiquimula Volcanic Field
Chingo  1775 mt.  Guatemala/El Salvador border     Las Viboras 1100 mts in Jutiapa

Volcán Chingo is a symmetrical stratovolcano that straddles the Guatemala/El Salvador border. The 1775-m-high conical volcano rises 900 m above its surroundings and is the most prominent regional landmark. A shallow, oval-shaped summit crater is breached on the western side. No historical eruptions are known from the Volcán Chingo volcanic field. Other small stratovolcanoes and cinder cones are located on both sides of the volcano along a major N-S-trending fault. Other youthful cones, such as Cerro de Olla, lie across the Salvadorian border to the south. To the north in Guatemala, Volcán las Viboras, a cinder cone that caps a basaltic shield volcano, is the most prominent of several fault-controlled cones near Laguna Atescatempo. Flank fissures have fed many youthful lava flows, particularly on the western flank of Chingo and the northern flank of Volcán las Viboras

Chingo Photo
                                       Border in Chingo

Ipala  1650-m

 Ipala is part of a cluster of closely spaced small stratovolcanoes and cinder cone fields in SE Guatemala. The summit of the 1650-m-high stratovolcano is cut by a 1-km-wide crater containing a lake. The eastern flank of the small Monterrico stratovolcano, seen here from the SW, is cut by a line of Holocene cinder cones and lava flows. Monte Rico is the prominent cinder cone on the south flank (right skyline). No historical eruptions are known from Ipala

Ipala and Monterrico

Lagoon in Crater
Ipala Photo
Ixtepeque volcano  1292 m

Ixtepeque volcano, which takes its name from the Aztec word for obsidian, is perhaps the largest obsidian field in North America, including red obsidian.. A 4 x 5 km wide rhyolitic obsidian lava field was erupted within the Ipala graben from a craterless vent along a NE-trending fissure that passes through adjacent rhyolitic lava domes and basaltic cinder cones. Obsidian from Ixtepeque has shown up at archaeological sites across Central America. Flat-lying pumice beds produced by explosive eruptions preceding lava effusion are found locally around the volcano. Other obsidian flows originated from lava domes NE of Ixtepeque. These rhyolitic vents are interspersed with basaltic cinder cones and lava flows. Laguna de Obrajuelo is a complex cone cut by a large crater more than a km in diameter. Initial basaltic eruptions were followed by the extrusion of obsidian flows and the eruption of rhyolitic pumice that were considered by Williams et al. (1964) to be only a few thousand years old

Ixtepeque Photo
Laguna de Obrajuelo

Moyuta  1662 m

Moyuta is the easternmost of a chain of large stratovolcanoes extending along the volcanic front of Guatemala. The summit of the 1662-m-high volcano contains a cluster of forested lava domes. It is viewed here from a small lake to its SW at the edge of the Pacific coastal plain. The age of the latest eruption of Moyuta volcano is not known

Moyuta Photo
Quezaltepeque 1200 m
The right side of the relatively cloud-free area at the center of this NASA Landsat image (with north to top) contains the Quezaltepeque volcanic field. A series of youthful lava flows was erupted from vents along a N-S-trending fault cutting through Tertiary pyroclastic rocks about 5 km south of the town of Quezaltepeque. The northern end of Lake Güija along the Guatemala/El Salvador border is at the bottom of the image, and the city of Chiquimula is at the top center. The fault-controlled Río Motagua valley is at the upper left
Quezaltepeque Photo



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