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Temporal closure of the Masaya Volcano National Park

Róger Solórzano Canales | Apr 30, 2012

Crater Santiago view, in Masaya Volcano (file photo). | Photographer: Paul Hoekman

The increase of the volcanic activity led to the temporal closure of the park to the touristic visitors.

This morning, the increased volcanic activity in Santiago crater at the Masaya Vocano National Park, caused the expulsion of incandescent rocks that caused fires already controlled in surrounding forest areas. Given this increased activity, which began on Friday April the 27th with an increase in the normal seismic tremor of the volcano, has led to the closure of the park "until further notice", guided by the “Instituto Nicaragüenses de Estudios Territoriales -INETER-” (Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies) and conducted by the direction of the park.

The Masaya Volcano is one of the most important tourist attractions of the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, thanks to the infrastructure that allows to visit the various spectacular natural areas of the park, which includes wooded extinct craters, caves, forests, a large biodiversity and the crater Santiago -the site star-, which is the active volcanic vent that keeps the INETER volcanologists experts currently busy for its recent increase in activity.

According to a recent technical report of INETER, last Friday was reported a seismic tremor increased (frequency rhythm of natural earthquakes of an active volcano) of the Santiago crater, which that day went from 40 RSAM (Real-time seismic amplitude) to 100 RSAM. Although with ups and downs, this increased activity has remained constant to this day, the day when there were other events and it was decided to close to the public.

This morning at 8:26 am, a burst of incandescent rocks with sizes of 2x10 inches and 10x25 inches was produced. Besides abundant ash and gases. The column reached approximately 500 meters above the crater rim and all the material was deposited mostly in the Northeastern part of the active crater, according to the official report. The incandescent material caused vegetation fires in neighboring San Fernando crater (extinct and covered with forest) and the East area of Santiago crater. The fire was controlled, but it affected about 3 acres.

Currently a technical mission of INETER is on the volcano to observe the activity and they will be informing of the variations through the press office of the institution. Karla Acosta, head of Communications and Press of INETER, mentioned that they will announce the reopening of the park when the activity is considered stable. Meanwhile, the site will remain closed to the public in general.

Translated by Aída Pichardo