Report on Masaya (Nicaragua) — November 1994
Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 11 (November 1994)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.
Masaya (Nicaragua) Red glow from vent on crater floor; gas emission
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Masaya (Nicaragua) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:11. Smithsonian Institution.
11.985°N, 86.165°W; summit elev. 594 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
When observed during November, the vent in Santiago crater was the same shape as in April 1994. It was possible to see ~20 m down into the hole, which was 10-20 m wide. During daylight a red glow could be seen from the lip of the vent inwards, but no lava or ejecta were observed. Pulses of gas emission occurred every 3-5 seconds.
Geologic Background. Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. 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 Nindirí and Masaya cones, 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 6,500 years ago. Historical 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. 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 have caused health hazards and crop damage.
Information Contacts: B. van Wyk de Vries, Open Univ; Pedro Hernandez, INETER.