This web page provides a first person account of a geologist's encounter with a lahar while surveying the Nima II river near the town of El Palmar in Guatemala, on August 14, 1989. Lahar is an Indonesian term that describes a hot or cold mixture of water and rock fragments flowing down the slopes of a volcano and (or) river valleys. While about 15 kilometers downstream from an active lava dome, Santiaguito (which is in the Santa Maria Volcano crater) the workers noticed a white steam cloud upriver. A very heavy rainstorm was passing through that area and they knew a hot lahar was likely to be on the way. They secured their equipment and were able to gain a perch on a nearby bridge with their cameras. After witnessing a hot lahar passing underneath they retreated to high ground. The account is illustrated with 4 photographs.


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