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Report on Concepcion (Nicaragua) — July 2007


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 32, no. 7 (July 2007)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Concepcion (Nicaragua) Small eruptions with ashfall July-November 2005 and September 2006-July 2007

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2007. Report on Concepcion (Nicaragua) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 32:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200707-344120



11.538°N, 85.622°W; summit elev. 1700 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An eruption in late July 2005 caused ashfall on the island and adjacent mainland (BGVN 30:07). Intermittent eruptions were ongoing through 10 November 2005. After that time the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER) did not report further volcanism again until September 2006. The following information is from INETER.

Activity during August-November 2005. On 19 August, an explosion of gas and ash resulted in ashfall in nearby communities. One official stated that the explosion was felt throughout the entire island. Scientists using a correlation spectrometer (COSPEC) on loan from the Institute of National of Seismology Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology of Guatemala (INSIVUMEH) measured an SO2 flux of 400 metric tons per day. The sulfur dioxide levels did not pose an immediate risk to the population. Two explosions on 29 August were followed by seismic tremor and the discharge of gas and ash. The ash reached a height of at least 1 km and ashfall was reported in the community of Altagracia, 5-6 km NE from the summit.

No activity was reported during September, but on 12 October another explosion ejected gas and ash, and ashfall was reported in several communities. In Altagracia, a strong smell of sulfur was reported. The next activity was reported on 4, 6, 8, and 10 November, when explosions and seismic tremor occurred with strong and prolonged discharge of gas and ash. Ashfall was reported in a number of nearby communities. On some days in early November island residents observed the ejection of incandescent material from the crater.

Activity during September 2006-July 2007. On 1 September 2006 the seismic station located on the island N of the volcano detected four seismic events possibly related to explosions in the crater. The earthquakes were not felt by the population, but inhabitants of La Flor (5 km NW) and San Marcos (6 km NNW) reported the smell of sulfur and noted minor ashfall. During the night of 19 September 2006 the seismograph on the Island of Ometepe registered volcanic activity from the NW slope that lasted approximately 40 minutes. On 21 September INETER reported three explosions. A seismic event of low magnitude at 1321 was registered that served as a precursor to a series of three explosions. The three explosions occurring from 1330 (nine minutes after the seismic event) to 1337 produced a column of gases and ash seen across southern Nicaragua, including the city of Granada (56 km NW), and local authorities reported ashfall in Moyogalpa (8 km W), Bethlehem, and Potosí (28 km W).

After almost four months with no reported activity, on 9 February 2007 INETER noted that increased volcanic activity began at 1045. Explosions in the crater ejected gas and ash. The plumes drifted WSW at low altitudes. Activity continued the next day with small explosions of gas and ash from the crater. The plumes again remained at low levels and dropped ash on the WSW flanks. No seismic events were registered by the seismic station.

The seismic station recorded a crater explosion on 8 April that sent a gas-and-ash plume to a height of ~ 1 km and drifted W. On 22 April, two successive evening explosions recorded seismically expelled gas and volcanic ash that drifted SW. More than two months of quiet was again broken by an explosions on 10 July that expelled a moderate amount of gas and ash NW, depositing ash in Moyogalpa and La Flor.

Geological Summary. Volcán Concepción is one of Nicaragua's highest and most active volcanoes. The symmetrical basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano forms the NW half of the dumbbell-shaped island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua and is connected to neighboring Madera volcano by a narrow isthmus. A steep-walled summit crater is 250 m deep and has a higher western rim. N-S-trending fractures on the flanks have produced chains of spatter cones, cinder cones, lava domes, and maars located on the NW, NE, SE, and southern sides extending in some cases down to Lake Nicaragua. Concepción was constructed above a basement of lake sediments, and the modern cone grew above a largely buried caldera, a small remnant of which forms a break in slope about halfway up the N flank. Frequent explosive eruptions during the past half century have increased the height of the summit significantly above that shown on current topographic maps and have kept the upper part of the volcano unvegetated.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Volcanology Department, Apartado 2110, Managua, Nicaragua (URL: http://www.ineter.gob.ni//vol/concepcion/concepcion.html).