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Report on Masaya (Nicaragua) — 6 March-12 March 2024


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 March-12 March 2024
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2024. Report on Masaya (Nicaragua) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 6 March-12 March 2024. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (6 March-12 March 2024)



11.9844°N, 86.1688°W; summit elev. 594 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

According to news articles, INETER reported that gas emissions increased at Masaya’s Santiago Crater in February, small landslides occurred from the inner NW crater wall, and the level of the lava lake had slightly increased. The report noted that SINAPRED recommended limits on the number of people and the time spent at the viewing area at the crater rim. A larger landslide occurred on 2 March and covered the active lava lake. A satellite image from 3 March showed a much smaller thermal anomaly on the crater floor compared to a 22 February image. According to an 8 March news article, INETER reported that small landslides continued to occur, originating from the inner SW and NW crater walls; a more notable landslide was recorded at 0900. The lava lakes remained covered with the deposits. Constant gas emissions rose from vents possibly on the crater floor and from fractures on the inner walls, though the gas flux was at lower rate, estimated to be 25-30 percent of the normal values. Seismicity was low with RSAM values around 23. The report noted that the Parque Nacional Volcán Masaya may partially open, though the public was warned to stay 800 m away from Santiago Crater.

Geological Summary. Masaya volcano in Nicaragua has erupted frequently since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold" until it was found to be basalt rock upon cooling. 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 observed 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. Recent 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. Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals have caused health hazards and crop damage.

Sources: Copernicus, La Prensa (Nicaragua), El 19 Digital