Volcan Masaya

Published: May 15th 2017
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Masaya is one of 18 distinct volcanic centers that make up the Nicaraguan portion of the Central American Volcanic Belt. Formed by the subduction of the Cocos Plate beneath the Caribbean Plate, this belt of volcanoes runs from volcán Tacaná in Guatemala to Irazú in Costa Rica. In 1979, Masaya became Nicaragua's first national park, named Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya. The park has an area of 54 km² and includes two volcanoes and five craters.

Volcan Masaya is about 30km west of Granada and is one of Nicaragua's most active and unusual volcanoes. In contrast to most other volcanoes in subduction zones, it has been erupting mainly fluid basaltic lava. At the time of the Spanish Conquistadors, it contained an active lava lake and it is rumoured that there were attempts to extract the volcano's molten "gold."

The number of visitors allowed on the site is limited and closely monitored. As a result of the impending holiday closure the wait was horrendously long. I think in all, it took us about 3 hours to finally get in to see the lava pool. But, even that incredibly long wait was worthwhile as this was the closest that Ann or I have ever been to an active lava pool (slightly closer than Telica). This lava pool was unmistakable and it was a shame to have to leave after only 15 minutes or so at the site.

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