Santa María sän´tä märē´ä [key], active volcano, 12,375 ft (3,772 m) high, SW Guatemala, in the Sierra Madre near the city of Quetzaltenango. Its eruption in 1902 was one of the largest of the 20th cent., killing more than 5,000 people and devastating much of SW Guatemala; the catastrophic eruption created a .9 mi (1.5 km) crater on Santa María's SW slope. Eruptions that began in 1922 led to the formation of Santiaguito, a large lava dome complex at the base of the crater. There has been continual eruptive activity since then, with major eruptions and pyroclastic flows at times.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Latin American and Caribbean Physical Geography