San Martin

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 18.57°N
  • 95.2°W

  • 1650 m
    5412 ft

  • 341110
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

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Volcán de San Martín, part of the Tuxtla volcanic field, is a broad alkaline shield volcano that rises above the Gulf of Mexico. The massive volcano, also known as San Martín Tuxtla, is elongated in a NW-SE direction and is capped by a 1-km-wide summit crater. The upper part of the 1650-m-high volcano is covered with dense tropical rain forests. The summit and flanks are dotted with more than 250 pyroclastic cones and maars. Well-preserved cinder cones are abundant between the summit and Laguna Catemaco on the SE flank. Holocene cones in this area produced ash deposits that buried recently discovered stone pyramids. The two largest historical eruptions took place in 1664 and 1793. The 1793 eruption occurred from two cinder cones in the summit crater and produced widespread ashfall and lava flows that extended 3.5 km down the NE flank.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1932 Dec 31 ± 365 days ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
[ 1838 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
[ 1797 ] [ 1805 ] Uncertain 2  
1794 May 1796 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1793 Mar 2 1793 Dec Confirmed 4 Historical Observations Cinder cones in summit crater
1664 Jan 15 (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Historical Observations SE flank
[ 1534 (?) ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
0890 ± 40 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
0480 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
0380 ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology South flank
0120 ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) South flank (Cerro Puntiagudo)
0150 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed   Tephrochronology South flank
0750 BCE ± 40 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
1320 BCE ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) South flank (Cerro Mono Blanco)
2130 BCE ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
3440 BCE ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Synonyms

Tuxtla, Volcán de | San Martín Tuxtla

Cones

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Mono Blanco, Cerro Pyroclastic cone 18° 28' 0" N 95° 8' 0" W
Nixtamalapan, Cerro Pyroclastic cone
Puntiagudo, Cerro Pyroclastic cone 18° 27' 0" N 95° 6' 0" W
Vaxin, Cerro Pyroclastic cone
Vigía, Cerro Pyroclastic cone

Craters

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Crocodrilos, Laguna Maar 18° 26' 0" N 95° 6' 0" W
Encantada, Laguna Maar
Nixtamalapan, Laguna Maar 18° 26' 0" N 95° 6' 0" W
Volcán San Martín, part of the Tuxtla volcanic field, is a broad alkaline shield volcano on the coast of the Gulf of México. San Martín is elongated in a NW-SE direction. The summit and flanks of the 1650-m-high volcano are dotted with more than 250 pyroclastic cones and maars. The two largest historical eruptions took place in 1664 and 1793. The 1793 eruption occurred from two cinder cones in the 1-km-wide summit crater and produced widespread ashfall and lava flows that extended 3.5 km down the NE flank.

Photo by Steve Nelson, 1986 (Tulane University).
The largest historical eruption of San Martín Tuxtla volcano took place in 1793. This drawing shows strombolian eruptions ejecting ash and incandescent bombs from a pyroclastic cone within the summit crater with the Gulf of Mexico in the background. The eruption began on March 2 and lasted until December. Periodic strong ash eruptions occurred from two cinder cones that grew within the 1-km-wide summit crater. Lava flowed through a breach in the rim of the summit crater for a distance of 3.5 km down the northern flank of the volcano.

Drawing from Archivo General de la Nación (México), courtesy of Larry Feldman.
An aerial view from the SE shows pyroclastic cones on the flank of the massive San Martín Tuxtla volcano. More than 250 pyroclastic cones and maars dot the flanks of San Martín volcano. They are mostly located along a 40-km-long NW-trending zone parallel to the elongation of the massive shield volcano. Many clusters of cones are aligned in this same direction parallel to regional trends.

Photo by Hugo Delgado-Granados, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Espindola J M, Zamora-Camacho A, Godinez M L, Schaaf P, Rodríguez S R, 2010. The 1793 eruption of San Martin Tuxtla volcano, Veracruz, Mexico. J Volc Geotherm Res, 197: 188-208.

Mooser F, Meyer-Abich H, McBirney A R, 1958. Central America. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 6: 1-146.

Nelson S A, 1990. Volcanic hazards in Mexico--a summary. Univ Nac Auton Mexico Inst Geol, Rev, 9: 71-81.

Nelson S A, Gonzalez-Caver E, 1992. Geology and K-Ar dating of the Tuxtla volcanic field, Veracruz, Mexico. Bull Volc, 55: 85-96.

Nelson S A, Gonzalez-Caver E, Kyser T K, 1995. Constraints on the origin of alkaline and calc-alkaline magmas from the Tuxtla volcanic field, Veracruz, Mexico. Contr Mineral Petr, 122: 191-211.

Reinhardt B K, 1991. Volcanology of the younger volcanic sequence and volcanic hazards study of the Tuxtla volcanic field, Veracruz, Mexico. Unpublished MSci thesis, Tulane Univ, 147 p.

Verma S P, Salazar V A, Negendank J F W, Milan M, Navarro L I, Besch T, 1993. Caracteristicas petrograficas y geoquimicas de elementos mayores del Campo Volcanico de los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico. Translated Title: Petrography and geochemistry of the major elements in Los Tuxtlas volcanic field, Veracruz, Mexico. Geof Internac, 32: 237-248.

Volcano Types

Shield
Pyroclastic cone(s)
Maar(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Major
Trachybasalt / Tephrite Basanite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
280
3,581
259,640
1,645,811

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of San Martin Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.