Masaya (Nicaragua)

Status Unknown Eruption 2019 635m
Caldera (Subduction zone / Continental crust (> 25 km))

Masaya

Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It lies within the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano and is 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 twin volcanoes of NindirĂ­ and Masaya, the source of historical 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 6500 years ago. Historical lava flows cover much of the caldera floor and have confined a lake to the far eastern end of the caldera. A lava flow from the 1670 eruption overtopped the north caldera rim. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold." Periods of long-term vigorous gas emission at roughly quarter-century intervals cause health hazards and crop damage.

Masaya is one of Nicaragua's most unusual and most active volcanoes. It is 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 erupted along a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. The twin volcanoes of NindirĂ­ and Masaya are seen here from the east caldera rim above Lake Masaya. Masaya has been frequently active since the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, when an active lava lake prompted several attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold."

Photo by Jaime Incer.

Last updated 2019-12-10 07:00:03

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