Santa Maria is a very active volcano. It erupted in 1902,
killing approximately 5,000 people. Since then it has
erupted several times, the most recent on October 26, 2005.
The most recent eruption was a fairly minor one.
See Picture D
The lava emitted from Santa Maria during an eruption has a lot of silica in it and therefor travels
very slowly down the volcano and doesn't go very far. This kind of lava is called "pasty lava". However, even though
the lava doesn't often reach the bottom of the volcano, there are still hazards. The main hazard of the Santa Maria
Volcano is a lahar, or a landslide or mudflow of volcanic fragments. Another major hazard of Santa Maria erupting
is that it could collapse into itself, causing major landslides and therefor destruction and possibly death. See
Pictures E and F