Cerro Negro

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  • Country
  • Subregion Name
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 12.506°N
  • 86.702°W

  • 728 m
    2388 ft

  • 344070
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

5 June-11 June 2013

INETER reported that the seismic station at the base of Cerro Negro recorded the onset of tremor at 0845 on 4 June. Seismicity fluctuated; Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) values increased to 60 units, from an average value of 14. From 1535 to 1731 the network recorded 49 earthquakes that were too small to be located.

Source: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER)



 Available Weekly Reports


2013: June
2004: January
2002: February


5 June-11 June 2013

INETER reported that the seismic station at the base of Cerro Negro recorded the onset of tremor at 0845 on 4 June. Seismicity fluctuated; Real-time Seismic Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) values increased to 60 units, from an average value of 14. From 1535 to 1731 the network recorded 49 earthquakes that were too small to be located.

Source: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER)


21 January-27 January 2004

During 21-27 January, INETER continued to monitor seismicity at Cerro Negro. According to a news article, observers near the volcano reported ash clouds rising above the volcano, but scientists observing Cerro Negro on 19 January saw only gas emanating from cracks and fumaroles, casting doubt on the ash-cloud observations.

Source: La Prensa (Nicaragua)


14 January-20 January 2004

According to INETER, an unusually large amount of seismic tremor occurred at Cerro Negro from December 2003 to at least mid January. The tremor had variable intensity, but was too small to be felt by the population near the volcano. During visits to Cerro Negro on 6 and 10 January, scientists did not observe any surficial changes or measure a temperature increase at fumaroles in comparison to previous months. INETER reported that the alert level may be increased from no alert to Green (the lowest alert level) if the amplitude of the tremor increases, or if there is an increase in other precursory activity.

Sources: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), La Prensa (Nicaragua)


20 February-26 February 2002

A temporary increase in tremor and very small earthquakes occurred at Cerro Negro during 19 February at 2300 to 20 February at 1100. During a visit to the volcano on the 20th, INETER and Civil Defense personnel noted no important changes in activity in comparison to their previous visit on 16 February. They found a small 80- to100-m-long and 45-m-wide landslide, a new fumarole, fumarole temperatures that were slightly higher than normal, and a large amount of sulfur deposited on many fumaroles. According to INETER, the increase in tremor was possibly due to a temporary increase in volcanic gas emission related to the formation of the new fumarole. They stated that the population near Cerro Negro was not in direct danger, although people should be aware of the possibility of unexpected events.

Sources: Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER), La Prensa (Nicaragua), La Prensa (Nicaragua)


Summary of eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1999 Aug 5 1999 Aug 7 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations South flank (near Cristo Rey crater)
1995 May 29 1995 Dec 6 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1992 Apr 9 1992 Apr 14 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations
1971 Feb 3 1971 Feb 14 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Summit and east flank
1969 Dec 19 1969 Dec 29 Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1968 Oct 23 1968 Dec 10 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Summit and south flank
[ 1964 ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 2  
1963 Mar Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1962 Mar 21 1962 Apr (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1961 Oct 25 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations NE-flank fissure
1960 Sep 28 1960 Dec 26 ± 5 days Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Summit and south flank
1957 Sep 4 1957 Sep 24 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Summit and east flank
1954 Feb 1954 Feb Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1950 Nov 21 1950 Dec 17 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations
1949 Jun 1949 Jun Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1948 Mar 31 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1947 Jul 9 1947 Aug 2 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Summit and NE flank
1929 Feb 10 1929 Mar Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1923 Oct 23 1923 Dec 11 Confirmed 3 Historical Observations Summit and upper north flank
1919 Jun 20 1919 Jun 30 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1914 Oct 28 1914 Nov 3 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1899 Nov 22 1899 Nov 29 ± 1 days Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1867 Nov 14 1867 Nov 30 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations NE-SW-trending fissure
1850 Apr 13 1850 May 27 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations

The following references are the sources used for data regarding this volcano. References are linked directly to our volcano data file. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title. Additional discussion of data sources can be found under Volcano Data Criteria.

Connor C B, Hill B E, LaFemina, Navarro M, Conway M, 1996. Soil 222Rn pulse during the initial phase of the June-August 1995 eruption of Cerro Negro, Nicaragua. J Volc Geotherm Res, 73: 119-127.

Hill B E, Conner C B, Jarzemba M S, La Femina P C, Navarro M, Strauch W, 1998. 1995 eruptions of Cerro Negro volcano, Nicaragua, and risk assessment for future eruptions. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 110: 1231-1241.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Incer J, 1987. . (pers. comm.).

INETER, 1999-. Volcanoes en Nicaragua. Inst Nicaraguense Estudios Territoriales (http://www.ineter.gob.ni/geofisica/vol/dep-vol.html).

La Femina P C, Conner C B, Hill B E, Strauch W, Armando Saballos J, 2004. Magma-tectonic interactions in Nicaragua: the 1999 seismic swarm and eruption of Cerro Negro volcano. J Volc Geotherm Res, 137: 187-199.

McKnight S B, Williams S N, 1997. Old cinder cone or young composite volcano? The nature of Cerro Negro, Nicaragua. Geology, 25: 339-342.

Mooser F, Meyer-Abich H, McBirney A R, 1958. Central America. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 6: 1-146.

Smithsonian Institution-CSLP, 1968-75. [Event notification cards]. Center for Short-Lived Phenomena (CSLP) Event Cards.

Walker J A, Carr M J, 1986. Compositional variations caused by phenocryst sorting at Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 97: 1156-1162.

Central America's youngest volcano, Cerro Negro, was born in April 1850 and has since been one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua. Cerro Negro is the largest, southernmost, and most recent of a group of four youthful cinder cones constructed along a NNW-SSE-trending line in the central Marrabios Range 5 km NW of Las Pilas volcano. Strombolian-to-subplinian eruptions at Cerro Negro at intervals of a few years to several decades have constructed a roughly 250-m-high basaltic cone and an associated lava field that is constrained by topography to extend primarily to the NE and SW. Cone and crater morphology at Cerro Negro have varied significantly during its eruptive history. Although Cerro Negro lies in a relatively unpopulated area, its occasional heavy ashfalls have caused damage to crops and buildings in populated regions of the Nicaraguan depression.