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Report on Masaya (Nicaragua) — 8 October-14 October 2008


Masaya

Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 October-14 October 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Masaya (Nicaragua) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 October-14 October 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (8 October-14 October 2008)

Masaya

Nicaragua

11.9844°N, 86.1688°W; summit elev. 594 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Based on pilot observations, the Washington VAAC reported that on 9 October an ash plume from Masaya rose to an altitude of 4.6 km (15,000 ft) and drifted NNE.

Geological Summary. Masaya volcano in Nicaragua has erupted frequently since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold" until it was found to be basalt rock upon cooling. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras caldera and is itself 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 NindirĂ­ and Masaya cones, the source of observed 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 6,500 years ago. Recent lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and there is a lake at the far eastern end. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals have caused health hazards and crop damage.

Source: Washington Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)