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Geography, History

Cerro Negro:the volcano


Bajando el Cerro Negro Cortesía Diana Nivia

Image via Wikipedia

Cerro Negro is a volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range in Nicaragua, about 10 km from the village of Malpaisillo. It is a very new volcano, the youngest in Central America, having first appeared in April 1850. It consists of a gravelly basalticcinder cone, which contrasts greatly with the surrounding verdant hillsides, and gives rise to its name, which means Black Hill. Cerro Negro has erupted frequently since its first eruption.One unusual aspect of several eruptions has been the emission of ashfrom the top of the cone, while lava erupts from fractures at the base.

The last volcanic activity at Cerro Negro occurred on August 5, 1999 and lasted for a total of two days. Three earthquakes (Mw 5.2) occurred in three hours, which triggered a small-scale eruption of the volcano. It was the first time in the history of Cerro Negro that large-magnitude earthquakes preceded the eruption. The VEI was only recorded as a 1, as the south flank (near the Cristo Rey crater) experienced radial fissure eruption, along with explosive and phreatic eruptions, in the formation of three new vents

Cerro Negro is a polygenetic cinder cone that is part of the Central American Volcanic Arc, which formed as a result of the Cocos plate subducting under the Caribbean plate, at a rate of 9 cm/year. It is the largest and southernmost of four cinder cones that have formed along a NW-SE trend line in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range. Despite its youth, Cerro Negro has been one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua, with its latest eruption occurring in 1999. Since its birth in 1850, it has erupted approximately 23 times.

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