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Report on Telica (Nicaragua) — 18 May-24 May 2011


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 May-24 May 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Telica (Nicaragua) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 May-24 May 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (18 May-24 May 2011)



12.606°N, 86.84°W; summit elev. 1036 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

INETER reported that during April seismicity at Telica increased, with earthquake magnitudes ranging up to 3.3 and some explosions detected. On 14 May at approximately 2310 a series of explosions were detected by the seismic network and were accompanied by ash and gas emissions. Tephra fall was reported in La Quemada, 4 km N. During the previous few days residents in nearby communities observed reddish colored gas plumes, and those living on the flanks felt earthquakes. On 16 May the seismic network registered three explosions that were accompanied by gas-and-tephra emissions. One plume rose 1.2 km above the crater. Nearby communities to the SE, including Cristo Rey, Las Colinas, and La Quemada, were affected by the emissions.

During 17-18 May another series of small explosions was detected. A gas-and-ash plume rose 600 m above the crater. On 18 May an explosion that lasted 6 minutes produced an ash plume that rose 2.6 km above the crater. Fifteen explosions during 18-19 May were accompanied by gas-and-ash plumes that rose 500-800 m high. Women and children living on the flanks were evacuated. Explosions continued to be detected during 19-20 May with gas-and-ash plumes again rising 500-800 m above the crater. Residents on the N flank in the community of El Ñajo reported that new fumaroles had opened, prompting authorizes to plan for monitoring all wells within a 5-km-radius of Telica. During 20-21 May activity decreased. An observer reported four strong explosions and gas-and-tephra plumes that rose 500-700 m high.

Geological Summary. Telica, one of Nicaragua's most active volcanoes, has erupted frequently since the beginning of the Spanish era. This volcano group consists of several interlocking cones and vents with a general NW alignment. Sixteenth-century eruptions were reported at symmetrical Santa Clara volcano at the SW end of the group. However, its eroded and breached crater has been covered by forests throughout historical time, and these eruptions may have originated from Telica, whose upper slopes in contrast are unvegetated. The steep-sided cone of Telica is truncated by a 700-m-wide double crater; the southern crater, the source of recent eruptions, is 120 m deep. El Liston, immediately E, has several nested craters. The fumaroles and boiling mudpots of Hervideros de San Jacinto, SE of Telica, form a prominent geothermal area frequented by tourists, and geothermal exploration has occurred nearby.

Source: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER)