Momotombo: Nicaragua’s Largest Volcano Erupts for the First Time in a Century

Momotombo eruption Dec 2015
Momotombo eruption December 1, 2015

TODAY NICARAGUA – Momotombo, Nicaragua’s largest volcano, erupted for the first time since 1905 on Tuesday.

The colossus is located near Lago Xolotlán, 40 km northeast of Managua, Nicargua’s capital city.

According to a bulletin from the Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (link in Spanish), small tremors and “expulsions of incandescent material” have been recorded since early November. By Tuesday, the eruption had intensified, sending a 3,000-foot plume of ash and gas spewing from the volcano’s crater.

Around 8:00 am local time, the agency recorded four large explosions from Momotombo. Smaller explosions persisted throughout the day. Glowing rock emissions began on Tuesday evening, but subsided by Wednesday morning.

Momotombo eruption Dec 2015
Momotombo eruption Dec 2015

Officials note that the area immediately surrounding the volcano is now relatively sparsely populated. According to the Smithsonian Institution, 100 people live within 5km of the stratovolcano, which towers 4,200 feet over Lake Managua.

Wired reports that several communities closed schools “as a precaution” after experiencing ash fall.

Until 1605, Leon, a bustling urban center, was located within close proximity to Momotombo. That year, frequent seismic and volcanic activity forced the city’s residents to relocate the burgeoning urban center 30 miles to the west. The ruins of their original settlement, know known as Leon Viejo, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

Since the sixteenth century, geologists have recorded 16 major instances of volcanic activity from Momotombo.