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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Volcano Craziness

Nicaragua has been called the land of lakes and volcanoes. Both dominate the views throughout the Pacific region of the country. Lately, volcanic activity has dominated the national news and the minds of all who live near them. The authorities have evacuated employees from some locations and some residents from a few locations, while intense monitoring of the situation continues. Here is a video of the dramatic volcanic activity in the Santiago Crater of Volcano Masaya.

There are, currently, five volcanoes in Nicaragua that are declared "active", which means something far beyond just heat on the surface or active fumaroles. These are Masaya, Momotombo, Cerro Negro, San Cristobal, and Telica. All are worth a view. The Volcano Masaya National Park is closed until further notice. In this area, the volcanic activity far exceeds anything that has happened there in more than 200 years. Views are best during the evening, particularly during a new moon, either from the Masaya-Managua highway or along the Malecon in the city of Masaya.

Volcano Masaya
The INETER Volcano Cam from 4 March 2016, shows an intense glow on the smoke emitted from the volcano. 

The Masaya Volcano is the main attraction of the Volcano Masaya National Park, located just north of the city of Masaya. The top portion of the crater is devoid of vegetation, hot and arid, and much of its flanks are covered only in annual plants which burn during the occasional dry season forest fires. Trees can not grow in these areas because of the intense heat which reaches to very near the surface of the soil. A volcanic crater lake, one of eleven found in the country, also can be seen in the park.

Make a trip to see them, but remember to be safe and obey the laws and current prohibitions!

Masaya Volcano
The smoke emerging from the mouth of the Santiago crater at Volcano Masaya National Park. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.

Volcano Masaya
Even on a good day, Volcano Masaya emits enormous quantities of smoke and noxious, corrosive gases. It is the largest source of mercury emission in the western hemisphere. On the flanks of the crater interior, a parakeets roost and reproduce in holes, some of which can be seen in the photo. Photo Jeffrey McCrary.

Momotombo Volcano rises from the north edge of Lake Managua. Its sister volcano, Momotombito, can be seen in the distance, an island in the lake. Photo Brenda McCrary.

Casitas Nicaragua
Casitas Volcano has active fumaroles near the summit.

Nicaragua Volcano
The smoking crater of El Hoyo Volcano, as seen from the summit of Casitas. 
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