Momotombo Volcano’s recent eruption produced a spectacular lava fountain and ash plume. Before the eruption people reported feeling tremors and seeing steam plumes emitting from Momotombo for days. When the eruption occurred volcanic debris cascaded down the volcano’s slopes but the eruption waned quickly. However, approximately a half dozen communities near Momotombo reported ash fall. As a safety precaution schools in the region were closed.
Since its last recorded eruption in 1905, Momotombo has rumbled occasionally. Between 2003 and 2011 a series of small seismic swarms were registered, suggesting magma was moving beneath the volcano. The hydro-thermal system in the crater began to heat up in 2007 as well, so the recent eruption may have been building up for over a decade.
Until 1905 Momotombo was one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua. Between 1849 and 1905 the volcano erupted ten times. In 1594 and again in 1605 major eruptions virtually destroyed the regional capital of Leon Viejo. Leon was rebuilt in its current location, about twenty miles west of Momotombo.
During the same week Momotombo erupted, Fuego and Santiaguito volcanoes in Guatemala had moderate eruptions as well. Fuego’s eruption produced an impressive lava fountain. A small ash plume was reported spewing from Telica in November too. Telica is another of Nicaragua’s perpetually active volcanoes. None of the recently erupting volcanoes are connected beyond the fact that they all lie where the Cocos Plate is sub-ducting beneath the Caribbean Plate.
Nicaragua is home to 19 volcanoes, and all are tourist attractions. Those that are perpetually active draw visitors from around the world hoping to see flowing lava or spewing lava fountains. Rarely are these hopes fulfilled, but even a steaming, smoke belching volcano is a marvel to behold up close. Dormant and extinct volcanoes provide some of the most beautiful hikes and views imaginable, while others draw visitors wanting to try their hand at volcano boarding. Volcano boarding is basically surfing down a volcano’s ash covered crater slope, or tobogganing for the less adventurous. There are many tour operators offering guided tours up Nicaragua’s volcanoes. Contact us if you wish to visit one of Nicaragua’s many volcanoes, or any of this country’s many natural wonders.