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Two explosions as Nicaragua’s San Cristóbal clears its throat 5 July 2010

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Dos grandes “eructos” de volcán San Cristóbal‘ says the headline in Nicaragua’s El Nuevo Diario newspaper: ‘two big “belches” from San Cristóbal volcano’. The eructations in question happened on Friday afternoon, 2 July 2010: two explosions from the summit crater at about 13:05 and 13:10 ejected pyroclastic material, ‘including rocks with a diameter of up to ten metres’, which caused fires in nearby grasslands. A ‘mushroom cloud’ of ash was produced by the second explosion, and light ashfall occurred in villages NW of the volcano. No damage or injuries were reported. An emergency plan was activated for the areas around the volcano, but there were no further signs of activity over the weekend. The Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) described Friday’s activity as ‘normal degassing’.

News
Dos grandes “eructos” de volcán San CristóbalEl Nuevo Diario, 4 July 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: San Cristóbal – summary information for San Cristóbal (1404-02=)
Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales – INETER main page

The Volcanism Blog

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March 2010 activity at Concepción, Nicaragua 27 March 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Concepción, eruptions, Nicaragua.
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Among the volcanic events that passed unrecorded here during my recent absence through illness was a burst of activity from Nicaragua’s Concepción volcano (which is among the country’s most active volcanoes).

On 8 March an ash and gas plume from Concepción rose to 2,100 metres altitude and light ashfall was reported in nearby communities. Low levels of seismic activity and occasional small explosions producing light ashfall were reported during subsequent days. On 12 March Washington VAAC issued a volcanic ash advisory reporting an eruption producing an ash cloud that reached FL100 (10,000 feet / 3,000 metres altitude). According to news reports there were two further explosions on 14 March. No casualties or damage resulted, although civil defence alerts remained in place for communities around the volcano. The Nicaraguan geological service INETER described the volcano on 19 March as ‘practically in a full eruptive phase’, with 34 explosions between 18:00 on 17 March and 11:45 on 18 March. On 19 March it was reported that the Nicaraguan government was sending army and navy units to the area around Concepción to strengthen civil defence preparations and prepare evacuation routes, ‘just in case’. The location of Concepción, on the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua, makes floods and tsunamis a potential danger if the volcano were to erupt.

However, shortly afterwards activity at the volcano began to decline, with INETER reporting on 22 March that degassing and seismic activity had fallen to low levels in comparison with the preceding days. On 24 March INETER confirmed a ‘considerable reduction in activity’ but reported continuing ‘anomalous’ levels of seismicity. The current situation is that activity remains low, but the volcano continues to be carefully monitored.

News
El volcán Concepción lanza gases y cenizas sin causar víctimas en Nicaragua – El Norte de Castilla, 8 March 2010
Nicaragua: volcán Concepción presenta columna de cenizas de 20 metros – 123.cl, 10 March 2010
Volcán en Nicaragua lanza toneladas de cenizas y gases, sin causar víctimas – Agencia EFE, 12 March 2010
Volcán nicaragüense vuelve a lanzar columnas de cenizas sin causar víctimasABC, 14 March 2010
Concepción está en plena erupciónLa Prensa, 19 March 2010
Ejército se prepara ante cualquier escenarioEl Nuevo Diario, 20 March 2010
Disminuye actividad del volcán ConcepciónNicaragua Hoy, 22 March 2010
Concepción mantiene sismicidad ‘anómala’La Prensa, 24 March 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Concepción – summary information for Concepción (1404-12=)
Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales – INETER main page
INETER Comunicados Oficiales – INETER volcano bulletins (hopelessly out of date)

The Volcanism Blog

Nicaragua’s Concepción volcano erupts 12 December 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Concepción, eruptions, Nicaragua.
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Concepción volcano in Nicaragua has erupted, with an explosion of gas and ashes that reached 150 metres into the air. The eruption took place at 08:40 local time (14:40 GMT) yesterday. Three villages located on the slopes of the volcano, Los Angeles, Esquipulas and San José del Sur, were affected by ashfall. There are no reports of injuries or serious disruption resulting from this eruption.

Concepción (summit elevation around 1700 metres) is one of two volcanoes making up the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua: the other is Maderas, to which Concepción is connected by a narrow isthmus. Around 35,000 people live on Ometepe, which is one of Nicaragua’s most popular tourist destinations. Concepción is among the most active Nicaraguan volcanoes, with frequent explosive eruptions over the last century.

[Hat tip: commenter Rubén.]

News
Volcán Concepción lanza gases y cenizasEl Nuevo Diario, 11 December 2009
Volcán en lago nicaragüense lanza cenizas – Reuters América Latina, 11 December 2009
El volcán Concepción de Nicaragua registra explosiones y lanza gases y cenizas – EFE, 11 December 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Concepción – summary information for Concepción (1404-12=)
Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales – INETER main page
INETER Comunicados Oficiales – INETER volcano bulletins (hopelessly out of date)

The Volcanism Blog

San Cristóbal’s ‘abnormal’ activity causes concern 5 October 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, natural hazards, Nicaragua, San Cristóbal.
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‘The steady expulsion of gas and ash’ at San Cristóbal volcano in Nicaragua is causing concern for the surrounding population and the civil defence authorities, reports the Nicaraguan paper El Nuevo Diario: the volcano ‘has had three months of abnormal activity, although sometimes its behaviour is relatively calm’.

The inhabitants of communities affected by the volcano’s emissions – Chichigalpa, Posoltega, Chinandega and El Viejo – have expressed unease at the consequences for their health, and the local government has warned that the ‘fumes and ash could have dangerous consequences for the population’. The Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) is constantly monitoring the volcano, which last erupted, on a small scale, a month ago.

News
Sigue actividad de fumarolas en el San CristóbalEl Nuevo Diario, 4 October 2009

Information
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

Earthquakes at Apoyeque volcano, Nicaragua 30 September 2009

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There has been a flurry of earthquakes under Apoyeque volcano in central western Nicaragua. The Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) seismic monitor lists eight earthquakes since 20:00 local time on 29 September (03:00 GMT 30 September), with magnitudes varying between 1.6 and 3.1. No property damage has been caused, and there have been no injuries.

Javier Mejía, INETER subdirector, is quoted in La Prensa as calling the activity ‘normal for a volcano such as Apoyeque’. Seismic swarms occurred at Apoyeque in 2001 and 2007, with the 2001 swarm including quakes up to magnitude 5.2.

News
Apoyeque produce sismosLa Prensa, 30 September 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Apoyeque – summary information for Apoyeque (1404-091)
Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales – INETER main page

The Volcanism Blog

Eruption at San Cristóbal, Nicaragua 7 September 2009

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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’.

News
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

Information
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

Eruptive activity at San Cristóbal, Nicaragua 22 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, eruptions, Nicaragua, San Cristóbal.
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Yesterday San Cristóbal volcano in Nicaragua was reported to be showing ‘slightly elevated eruptive activity’, with ‘small explosions’ in its crater and earthquakes with magnitudes between 3.5 and 4.0. Nicaragua’s volcanological authority, INETER, describes this activity as ‘a normal part of the volcano’s behaviour in recent years’ which ‘at the moment poses no imminent danger to the population’.

A report in Nicaragua’s El Nuevo Diario says that the explosions ‘hurled ash and volcanic gases’ at towns and villages south of the volcano. There are no reports of damage or injuries, however.

Elevated seismicity is reported to have been registered at San Cristóbal for the last week.

News
Erupción en volcán San Cristóbal en noroeste de NicaraguaEl Nuevo Diario, 21 November 2008
El volcán San Cristóbal de Nicaragua registra pequeñas explosiones en cráterABC Digital, 22 November 2008
Lanza ceniza y humo volcan San Cristobal en NicaraguaEl Financiero, 22 November 2008
Volcano erupts in Nicaragua with small quakes – Associated Press, 22 November 2008

Information
Global Volcanism Program: San Cristóbal – information about San Cristóbal (1404-02=)
Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales – INETER main page
INETER Comunicados Oficiales – INETER volcano bulletins

The Volcanism Blog

Nicaraguan volcanoes and life on Mars 29 September 2008

Posted by admin in Cerro Negro, current research, Mars, Nicaragua, solar system.
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‘Although volcanoes on Mars today are dormant or extinct’, says the summary of this Astrobiology Magazine story, ‘in the distant past the Red Planet was literally a hotbed of volcanic activity’. Yes, literally a hotbed. ‘Cerro Negro, an active volcano in Nicaragua, offers clues to what the martian era of fire and brimstone may have been like – and what types of organisms could have lived in that superheated world’.

It seems Cerro Negro, the youngest volcano in Central America (born April 1850), offers Martian-type basalts that can provide terrestrial analogs to possible conditions in and around the volcanoes of Mars back in the ‘martian era of fire and brimstone’. To find out more, take a look at ‘Nicaraguan volcano provides insight into early Mars’ at Astrobio.net.

The Volcanism Blog

Geothermal power from volcanoes 25 June 2008

Posted by admin in Alaska, Augustine, Nicaragua, San Cristóbal, Spurr, United States, volcanic resources.
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Reuters reports that the State of Alaska is preparing a geothermal leasing programme for Mount Spurr which would allow energy companies to exploit the volcano’s heat sources as a means of generating energy, and that a similar programme is being considered for another Alaskan volcano, Augustine. The Eruptions blog has more.

Only last week Nicaragua announced that it was inviting bids to develop the geothermal potential of San Cristóbal volcano.

An article in the UK Daily Telegraph for 26 June 2008 reports on the resurgence of interest in geothermal power in the United States: ‘According to experts, America is only just waking up to the ancient power source lying beneath dozens of states that has the potential to supply as much as 25 percent of the nation’s energy needs’. If the Telegraph is to be believed, Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association, when speaking of current geothermal energy projects and the potential for expansion, actually used the phrase ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Spurr – summary information for Spurr (1103-04-)
Global Volcanism Program: Augustine – summary information for Augustine (1103-01-)
Global Volcanism Program: San Cristóbal – summary information for San Cristóbal (1404-02=)
The plus side of volcanoes: geothermal energy – general information on geothermal energy from the Cascades Volcano Observatory

News
Harness volcano power, energy experts sayDaily Telegraph, 26 June 2008
Alaska plans geothermal leasing at volcano – Reuters, 24 June 2008
Nicaragua seeks bids on energy from largest volcano – Bloomberg, 19 June 2008

The Volcanism Blog

Masaya, Nicaragua: explosion reported 19 June 2008

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Nicaragua’s Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) reported on 18 June 2008 that an ‘explosion’ took place in the crater of Masaya volcano at 16:50 local time on that date, resulting in the release of ‘gases and volcanic ash in moderate amounts’. A dark eruption cloud was observed by people in the Masaya Volcano National Park.

Masaya, a 6x11km caldera, is one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua. Unusually for a basaltic volcano it has had explosive eruptions, including, in 4550BC, one of the largest of the past 10,000 years (VEI=5). Long-lasting periods of gas emission from Masaya, with sulphur dioxide being released at rates of more than 1000 tonnes per day, cause localized health hazards and crop damage.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Masaya – summary information for Masaya (1404-10=)
Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales – INETER main page
INETER Comunicados Oficiales – INETER volcano bulletins

News
Científicos de INETER en volcán Masaya – news release from the Nicaraguan President’s office, 19 June 2008

The Volcanism Blog