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Masaya Volcano

Masaya Volcano

Volcano National Park in Masaya, Nicaragua

A rainy season cloud bulges out of the sky, about to spill, while sweat streams down my back. A thick crowd has appeared up the narrow cobblestone street. Suddenly, there is music, fireworks erupt and shouting teams of villagers, each carrying a heavy, hardwood tree trunk laden with coconuts, plantains and pineapples, are heading straight for me.

The beautiful image of the this magnificent place

The Masaya complex is the successor of the massive Pleistocene Las Sierras pyroclastic shield volcano which collapsed into the caldera during repeated collapse following a series of Plinian eruptions over the past 6-7000 years. Parts of the caldera are filled with a lake.

Young activity from the Masaya complex occurred from more than a dozen vents in a circular, 4-km-diameter fracture system. It built the twin volcanoes of Nindirí and Masaya, the source of historical eruptions, at the southern end of the fracture system.

A major basaltic plinian tephra was 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 over-topped the north caldera rim.