Report on Momotombo (Nicaragua) — 24 February-1 March 2016
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 February-1 March 2016
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2016. Report on Momotombo (Nicaragua). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 February-1 March 2016. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
12.423°N, 86.539°W; summit elev. 1270 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
INETER reported that during 19 February-1 March explosions at Momotombo were detected daily; 88 explosions were detected during 1 December 2015-1 March 2016. Explosions produced ash plumes, and ejected incandescent material onto the N, NE, E, and SE flanks. Ash plumes rose 1.7-2.3 km above the crater and drifted SW during 21-22 February; gas-and-ash plumes rose 1.8 km on 24 February; an ash plume rose 1 km on 25 February; and a small gas-and-ash plume rose 300 m on 26 February. A pyroclastic flow traveled 3.5 km down the N and NW flanks during 23-24 February. Explosions on 27 February ejected tephra 300 m above the crater. At 0646 on 1 March explosions ejected gas and incandescent tephra; an ash plume rose 1.2 km and drifted W and SW. The gas-and-ash emissions lasted 16 minutes, causing the plume to widen and darken the sky.
Geologic Background. Momotombo is a young stratovolcano that rises prominently above the NW shore of Lake Managua, forming one of Nicaragua's most familiar landmarks. Momotombo began growing about 4500 years ago at the SE end of the Marrabios Range and consists of a somma from an older edifice that is surmounted by a symmetrical younger cone with a 150 x 250 m wide summit crater. Young lava flows extend down the NW flank into the 4-km-wide Monte Galán caldera. The youthful cone of Momotombito forms an island offshore in Lake Managua. Momotombo has a long record of Strombolian eruptions, punctuated by occasional stronger explosive activity. The latest eruption, in 1905, produced a lava flow that traveled from the summit to the lower NE base. A small black plume was seen above the crater after a 10 April 1996 earthquake, but later observations noted no significant changes in the crater. A major geothermal field is located on the south flank.