Suggestion of an Eruption
The trail to that discovery began with Will Hobby’s comment he sailed up the Central American coast. He had heard of “ a tidal wave …which I believe occurred at the eruption of the volcano Santa Maria which… wrought widespread destruction some eight or ten years ago.”
The Volcano He Didn’t See
He didn’t see Santa Maria in Guatemala because of fog, but he read his map and talked to the captain, crew members, and any passenger who might have sailed along this coast before.
The Date Not Quite Right
Eight or ten years ago would have been 1904 to 1906, but Santa Maria erupted in 1902. Will had no access on shipboard to the history of volcanic eruptions, and he was in either Iowa or California in 1902, so I conclude that whether the eruption was reported in newspapers he was reading in 1902, or heard about it after he moved to Panama, his memory was better than mine! He did see the stranded ship Sosostres and asked questions, but it’s no wonder he didn’t have all the facts straight—I found 3 versions of the Sosostres story!
The Womb of a Volcano
Back to the “babies.”
When the ash settled, there was a new crater, estimated to be 1000 to 1500 feet deep, at the base of Santa Maria. It filled partially with dirt, rock, and mud slides. It remained during a two-decade gestation. The Santiaguito dome was born in 1922 and has been almost continually active ever since. Another child, El Caliente (The Hot One) has earned its name. Other younglings are El Brujo, El Monje, and La Mitad.
A volcanologist may be either horrified or amused when I say these domes are the progeny of Santa Maria, but it makes sense to me. Needless to say, Will Hobby had no idea that the landscape, which he didn’t see on account of fog, would change so much with those birthings during his lifetime.
On the Way–Finally
The Tale of the Sosostres is one of the most fascinating stories Grandpa’s journal turned up–that, and more volcanoes, in the book…