Report on Masaya (Nicaragua) — March 1993

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 3 (March 1993)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Masaya (Nicaragua) Crater walls stabilizing

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Masaya (Nicaragua). In: Venzke, E (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:3. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199303-344100.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Masaya

Nicaragua

11.984°N, 86.161°W; summit elev. 635 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


"Masaya's Santiago crater, visited on 7 and 13-14 January, contains a few weak fumaroles on the rim of the 1989 vents and on the wall adjoining the Nindirí crater. The crater walls have stabilized since the 1989/90 collapses, and there is now little rockfall activity. Vegetation is beginning to colonize the crater walls."

Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is a broad, 6 x 11 km basaltic caldera with steep-sided walls up to 300 m high. The caldera is filled on its NW end by more than a dozen vents that erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of NindirĂ­ and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, were constructed at the southern end of the fracture system and contain multiple summit craters, including the currently active Santiago crater. A major basaltic Plinian tephra erupted from Masaya about 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

Information Contacts: Andrea Borgia, Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica, via di Vigna Murata 605, 00143 Roma, Italy; B. van Wyk de Vries, Open Univ; Peter J. Baxter, Dept of Community Medicine, Fenner's, Gresham Road, Cambridge, England.