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Open-File Report 01-367

Volcano-Hazard Zonation for San Vicente Volcano, El Salvador

By J.J. Major, S.P. Schilling, C.R Pullinger, C.D. Escobar, and M.M. Howell

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (516 kB)Summary

San Vicente volcano, also known as Chichontepec, is one of many volcanoes along the volcanic arc in El Salvador. This composite volcano, located about 50 kilometers east of the capital city San Salvador, has a volume of about 130 cubic kilometers, rises to an altitude of about 2180 meters, and towers above major communities such as San Vicente, Tepetitan, Guadalupe, Zacatecoluca, and Tecoluca. In addition to the larger communities that surround the volcano, several smaller communities and coffee plantations are located on or around the flanks of the volcano, and major transportation routes are located near the lowermost southern and eastern flanks of the volcano. The population density and proximity around San Vicente volcano, as well as the proximity of major transportation routes, increase the risk that even small landslides or eruptions, likely to occur again, can have serious societal consequences.

The eruptive history of San Vicente volcano is not well known, and there is no definitive record of historical eruptive activity. The last significant eruption occurred more than 1700 years ago, and perhaps long before permanent human habitation of the area. Nevertheless, this volcano has a very long history of repeated, and sometimes violent, eruptions, and at least once a large section of the volcano collapsed in a massive landslide. The oldest rocks associated with a volcanic center at San Vicente are more than 2 million years old. The volcano is composed of remnants of multiple eruptive centers that have migrated roughly eastward with time. Future eruptions of this volcano will pose substantial risk to surrounding communities.

First posted November 20, 2013

For additional information:
Contact CVO 
Volcano Science Center, Cascades Volcano Observatory 
U.S. Geological Survey 
1300 SE Cardinal Court, Building 10, Suite 100 
Vancouver, WA 98683-9589

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Suggested citation:

Major, J.J., Schilling, S.P., Pullinger, C.R., Escobar, C.D. , and Howell, M.M., 2001, Volcano-Hazard Zonation for San Vicente Volcano, El Salvador: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-367, 22 pp., 1 plate,



Volcanic Phenomena

Past events at San Vicente Volcano

Future activity at San Vicente Volcano

Events at Other Volcanoes Can Affect the San Vicente Region

Volcano-Hazard-Zonation Map

Hazard Forecasts and Warnings

Protecting Communities and Citizens from Volcano-Related Hazards


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