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Eruption at San Cristóbal, Nicaragua 7 September 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Nicaragua, San Cristóbal.
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The northernmost of Nicaragua’s active volcanoes, San Cristóbal, erupted yesterday. El Nuevo Diario reports that ‘eight explosions with emissions of brown ash and gas’ took place on Sunday afternoon. The explosions caused alarm, and an alert was issued for surrounding districts by the national civil defence service, but there are no reports of casualties or significant disruption. The local civil defense chief reported that the plume produced by the initial explosion reached a height of 700 metres above the crater, but the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) is quoted as reporting a height of 200 metres:

A statement from the Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales reports that at 1:50 this afternoon San Cristóbal volcano produced explosions of gas and ashes. The first explosion was detected by the seismic station located on the south-west slope of this volcano, and generated a column that reached an approximate altitude of 200 metres, remaining static because of the absence of wind. There then were four explosions of lesser intensity. According to reports from Defensa Civil personnel in the communities around the volcano, the activity continued until approximately 2:40 in the afternoon.

The INETER statement quoted by El Nuevo Diario does not seem as yet to be available on the volcanology section of the INETER website.

Washington VAAC reported ash at FL280 (i.e. 28000 feet/8500 metres altitude) following the eruption yesterday. The latest Washington ash advisories report no emissions.

Regular, relatively small-scale explosive eruptions are characteristic of San Cristóbal, which last erupted in November 2008. By the way, the Associated Press report wrongly states that the last eruption was in 2006. In fact there was a signficant VEI=2 eruption lasting from November 2005 to May 2006, then two eruptions in 2008, in June and November. It isn’t just AP that gets this wrong, however: Nicaragua’s La Prensa didn’t notice the 2008 eruptions either, and Univisión is busy headlining ‘tres años de inactividad’ when it should be ‘menos de un año de inactividad’.

8 explosiones en el San CristóbalEl Nuevo Diario, 6 September 2009
Volcán de Nicaragua lanza arena luego de tres años de inactividad – Univisión, 6 September 2009
Ofrece espectáculo la explosión de un volcán – Milenio.com, 6 September 2009
Nicaragua’s San Cristobal volcano spews ashes, gas – Associated Press, 7 September 2009
San Cristóbal lanza humo y arenaLa Prensa, 7 September 2009

Global Volcanism Program: San Cristóbal – summary information for San Cristóbal (1404-02=)
Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales – INETER main page
INETER Comunicados Oficiales – INETER volcano bulletins (not up to date)

The Volcanism Blog