Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


William I Rose


High resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) of Santiaguito and Pacaya volcanoes, Guatemala, were used to estimate volume changes and eruption rates between 1954 and 2001. The DEMs were generated from contour maps and aerial photography, which were analyzed in ArcGIS 9.0®. Because both volcanoes were growing substantially over the five decade period, they provide a good data set for exploring effective methodology for estimating volume changes. The analysis shows that the Santiaguito dome complex grew by 0.78 ± 0.07 km3 (0.52 ± 0.05 m3 s-1) over the 1954-2001 period with nearly all the growth occurring on the El Brujo (1958-75) and Caliente domes (1971-2001). Adding information from field data prior to 1954, the total volume extruded from Santiaguito since 1922 is estimated at 1.48 ± 0.19 km3. Santiaguito’s growth rate is lower than most other volcanic domes, but it has been sustained over a much longer period and has undergone a change toward more exogenous and progressively slower extrusion with time. At Santiaguito some of the material being added at the dome is subsequently transported downstream by block and ash flows, mudflows and floods, creating channel shifting and areas of aggradation and erosion. At Pacaya volcano a total volume of 0.21 ± 0.05 km3 was erupted between 1961 and 2001 for an average extrusion rate of 0.17 ± 0.04 m3 s-1. Both the Santiaguito and Pacaya eruption rate estimates reported here are minima, because they do not include estimates of materials which are transported downslope after eruption and data on ashfall which may result in significant volumes of material spread over broad areas. Regular analysis of high resolution DEMs using the methods outlined here, would help quantify the effects of fluvial changes to downstream populated areas, as well as assist in tracking hazards related to dome collapse and eruption. (31422 kB)
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