The Santa Maria Volcano towers over Guatemala’s Pacific coastal plain. Intermittently active, the volcano released a plume in mid-January 2007. Days earlier, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite took this picture of Santa Maria, on January 10, 2007.
Made from a combination of light visible to human eyes and infrared light, this image shows a 150-meter hotspot at the summit of one of the volcano’s vents. Highlighted in red, the appropriately named Caliente (Spanish for “hot”) Vent is part of Santa Maria’s Santiaguito dome complex, a set of multiple volcanic domes. This dome complex began growing in 1922. Other features of the volcano peek through the clouds floating overhead, including sharp ridges around Caliente and down the volcano’s flanks.
Santa Maria is a 3,772-meter (12,375-foot)-tall stratovolcano consisting of alternating layers of hardened ash, lava, and rock. A catastrophic eruption in 1902 caused severe damage throughout southwestern Guatemala and carved a crater on the volcano’s flank.