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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 11.73°N
  • 85.82°W

  • 629 m
    2063 ft

  • 344111
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Zapatera.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Zapatera.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Zapatera.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



Unknown - Evidence Credible

629 m / 2063 ft


Volcano Types

Tuff ring(s)
Pyroclastic cone(s)
Lava dome(s)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

Zapatera is a small low shield volcano that forms a 7 x 10 km wide island on the western side of Lake Nicaragua just offshore from Mombacho volcano. The island contains some of the most significant archaeological sites in Nicaragua. The small, roughly circular 2-km-wide El Llano caldera is located near the center of the island, which is cut by a series of NE-trending faults that continue into Lake Nicaragua. The conical 305-m-high Cerro El Llano lava dome occupies the center of the caldera, and other lava domes are found on the southern and NE flanks. Numerous low-rimmed tuff rings and maars, of which Laguna de Zapatera on the NW flank is the best-preserved, are found on the northern and western sides of the densely forested 629-m-high island and across a narrow strait on the adjacent mainland.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Carr M J, 1984. Symmetrical and segmented variation of physical and geochemical characterisitics of the Central American volcanic front. J Volc Geotherm Res, 20: 231-252.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Incer J, 1987. (pers. comm.).

McBirney A R, Williams H, 1965. Volcanic history of Nicaragua. Univ Calif Pub Geol Sci, 55: 1-65.

van Wyk de Vries B, 1993. Tectonics and magma evolution of Nicaraguan volcanic systems. Unpublished PhD thesis, Open Univ, Milton Keynes, 328 p.

The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Zapatera. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Zapatera page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Zapetón | Zapetero


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Armado, Isla el Tuff ring 11° 47' 0" N 85° 49' 0" W
Charco Muerto Tuff ring
Ensenada el Viejo Tuff ring 11° 43' 0" N 85° 51' 0" W
Ensenada los Chiqueros Lava cone 11° 46' 0" N 85° 52' 0" W
Ensenadas de Punta Gorda Cone 11° 48' 0" N 85° 33' 0" W
Jesús Grande, Isla de Lava cone 11° 47' 0" N 85° 51' 0" W
Menco, Cerro el Cone 11° 42' 0" N 85° 52' 0" W
Muerto, Isla el Cone 11° 47' 0" N 85° 52' 0" W
Pilón, Cerro el Cone 11° 45' 0" N 85° 52' 0" W
San Fernando Cone
Terror, El Cone
Tinajas, Isla Tuff ring


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Llano, El Caldera 11° 45' 0" N 85° 50' 0" W
Pichicha, Laguna Crater
Zapatera, Laguna de Maar 11° 46' 0" N 85° 51' 0" W


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Banderas, Cerro las Dome 11° 46' 0" N 85° 48' 0" W
Guinea, La Dome
Llano, Cerro el Dome 11° 45' 0" N 85° 51' 0" W
San Francisco Dome
Santa Julia, Sierra Dome 11° 44' 0" N 85° 49' 0" W

Photo Gallery

A cluster of maars forms the NW tip of Zapatera Island in this aerial view with north to the bottom. Laguna de Zapatera lies at the upper left, and Punta Rua, the peninsula at the upper right, forms part of the western rim of a maar enclosing the Ensenada de Chiqueros. Isla El Muerto lies just offshore at the lower right.

Photo by Franco Penalba, 1994 (courtesy of Jaime Incer).
The low-rimmed Zapatera maar in the foreground is part of a maar complex at the NW tip of Zapatera Island on the western side of Lake Nicaragua. Remnants of other maars form small islets offshore. The surface of Lake Nicaragua, the country's largest body of water, lies only 30 m above sea level. The northern shore of the lake in the distance is about 35 km from Isla Zapatera. The long axis of the 70 x 160 km wide lake parallels the NW-SE trend of the Nicaraguan central depression.

Photo by Jaime Incer, 1982.
Zapatera Island, seen here from the NW on the lower flanks of Mombacho volcano, is a small low shield volcano that forms a 7 x 10 km wide island in Lake Nicaragua. The small roughly circular 2-km-wide El Llano caldera is located near the center of the island. Numerous low-rimmed tuff rings and maars are found on the northern and western sides of the densely forested 629-m-high island and across a narrow strait on the adjacent mainland. Concepción is the conical volcano in the distance beyond Zapatera.

Photo by Jaime Incer, 1995.
These small forested islands are hummocks of a large debris avalanche from Mombacho volcano that swept into Lake Nicaragua. The horizon is formed by Isla Zapatera volcano, SE of Mombacho.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
A small boat plies the waters of Ensenada de Aseses, with Zapatera Island forming the horizon to the SE. In the middle distance are the small island hummocks of Las Isletas, formed by a debris avalanche from Mombacho volcano, out of view to the right. The conical peak on the distant left horizon is Concepción volcano; the low, rounded peak to its left is Cerro las Banderas, a pyroclastic cone on the NE tip of Zapatera Island.

Photo by Paul Kimberly, 1998 (Smithsonian Institution).
Zapatera Island is seen here from the north across Lake Nicaragua. The 629-m-high summit of the island at the left marks the rim of a fault-bound caldera. The post-caldera cone Cerro el Llano is a faintly visible conical peak whose summit lies just below the horizon near the center of the photo.

Photo by Ben Van Wyk de Vries (Open University).
Two major scarps cutting Mombacho volcano (left-center) were the sources of major debris avalanches. The arcuate peninsula and island chain extending into Lake Nicaragua (known as Las Isletas or Isletas de Granada) was produced by collapse of Mombacho to the NE. The island at the right is Zapatera, a small shield volcano and maar complex. The lake at the far left fills late-Pleistocene Apoyo caldera, and the roughly N-S-trending Granada cinder cone alignment lies NNW of Mombacho and east of Lake Apoyo in this NASA Space Shuttle image (with north to the upper left).

NASA Space Shuttle image STS081-742-25, 1997 (

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Zapatera in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Zapatera Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.