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Report on Apoyeque (Nicaragua) — April 2009


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 34, no. 4 (April 2009)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Apoyeque (Nicaragua) Repose continues, punctuated by occasional seismic swarms in 2001 and 2007

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Apoyeque (Nicaragua) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 34:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN200904-344091



12.242°N, 86.342°W; summit elev. 518 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Seismic swarms took place during 2001 and 2007. The last overview of Apoyeque (BGVN14:04) reported slight variations of the crater lake's surface temperature of between 25 and 30°C (which began to rise in 1988). Faint sulfurous odors were noted as well as some active fumaroles.

Swarms were reported by INETER (Instituto Nicarag?ense de Estudios Territoriales) in a 23 September 2007 report. The first swarm, during January 2001, included earthquakes up to MR 5.2. This swarm was felt strongly in the cities of Managua (~ 8 km away) and in Ciudad Sandino. No damage was reported. The second swarm began on 21 September 2007, becoming more intense on 23 September, by which time there had been 10 earthquakes up to MR 2.8. Scores of smaller earthquakes were also detected at a seismometer in Apoyeque's crater.

INETER stated that, based on past cases at this volcano, such swarms can continue for days and might reach M 4-M 5 (as they had in January 2001). The typical pattern is for a series of smaller volcanic earthquakes to precede one or more larger ones. This is in contrast to earthquakes associated with the subduction of the Cocos plate, where larger earthquakes often precede substantially smaller ones.

Apoyeque remains in repose without documented historical eruptions. Tephrochronology (the study of ash layers, in this case including radiometric dating) indicates the most recent eruption here was large and took place about 50 BC (? 100 years) depositing the Chiltepe tephra. That tephra deposit has an estimated 4 km3 on-land volume and a total volume (including the offshore component) of about 18 km3(Kutterolf and others, 2008).

Reference. Kutterolf, S., Freundt, A., and Perez, W., 2008, Pacific offshore record of Plinian arc volcanism in Central America: 2. Tephra Volumes and erupted masses: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (G3), v. 8, Q02S02, doi: 10.1029/2007GC001791.

Geological Summary. The Apoyeque volcanic complex occupies the broad Chiltepe Peninsula, which extends into south-central Lake Managua. The peninsula is part of the Chiltepe pyroclastic shield volcano, one of three large ignimbrite shields on the Nicaraguan volcanic front. A 2.8-km wide, 400-m-deep, lake-filled caldera whose floor lies near sea level truncates the low Apoyeque edifice, which rises only about 500 m above the lake shore. The caldera was the source of a thick deposit of dacitic pumice that covers the surrounding area. The 2.5 x 3 km lake-filled Xiloá (Jiloá) maar is located immediately SE of Apoyeque. The Talpetatl lava dome was constructed between Laguna Xiloá and Lake Managua. Pumiceous pyroclastic flows from Laguna Xiloá were erupted about 6,100 years ago and overlie deposits of comparable age from the Masaya Plinian eruption.

Information Contacts: Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), Apartado Postal 2110, Managua, Nicaragua.