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Sketch map of the El Hoyo volcanic complex and Cerro Negro. After Bice (1980).
Sketch map of the El Hoyo volcanic complex and Cerro Negro. After Bice (1980).

Las Pilas volcano

campo volcánico 1088 m / 3,570 ft
Nicaragua, 12.5°N / -86.69°W
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5)
Last update: 29 feb 2020 (strong degassing from pit crater next to El Hoyo crater)

Las Pilas volcano is a volcanic complex near Cerro Negro volcano 75 km NW of the capital Managua.
The volcano consists of several cones around the central vent, Las Pilas, which contains a 700 m wide and 120 m deep crater and is the site of the recent activity.
El Hoyo is a 150 m deep pit crater immediately SW of the main crater. It contains particularly strong fumaroles and produces sometimes dense plumes of gas and steam.
The only certain historic activity from Las Pilas were 2 phreatic eruptions from a fissure on the eastern side of Las Pilas cone in 1952 and 1954. An eruption in the 16th century is uncertain.

Show interactive Map
Typical eruption style: explosive
Erupciones del volcán Las Pilas: 1994 (?), 1954, 1952, 1528 (?)

Latest nearby earthquakes

Fecha / HoraRevista / ProfundidadDistanciaUbicación
Fri, 5 Mar 2021 (GMT) (4 temblores)
5 mar 2021 05:01 (GMT -6) (5 Mar 2021 11:01:16 GMT)
3.7

35 km - More
120 kmOcéano Pacífico Norte, 75 km al oeste de Chinandega, Nicaragua
5 mar 2021 04:01 (GMT -6) (5 Mar 2021 10:01:00 GMT)
3.3

32 km - More
147 kmOcéano Pacífico Norte, 99 km al oeste de Chinandega, Nicaragua
5 mar 2021 03:35 (GMT -6) (5 Mar 2021 09:35:47 GMT)
2.6

150 km - More
162 km15 km al sur de Rivas, Nicaragua
4 mar 2021 23:07 (GMT -6) (5 Mar 2021 05:07:11 GMT)
3.3

18 km - More
161 kmOcéano Pacífico Norte, 131 km al suroeste de Chinandega, Nicaragua
Thu, 4 Mar 2021 (GMT) (1 terremoto)
4 mar 2021 17:54 (GMT -6) (4 Mar 2021 23:54:48 GMT)
2.7

41 km - More
112 kmOcéano Pacífico Norte, 68 km al oeste de Chinandega, Nicaragua

Background

The 30 km long Las Pilas volcanic complex is built along a N-S-trending fracture system and contains numerous young cones, craters and maars.
The lake-filled Asososca maar is located next to the conical 818-m-high Cerro Asososca cone on the southern side of the fissure system, south of the axis of the Marrabios Range. 2 small maars west of Lake Managua are located at the southern end of the fissure.
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Sources:
- Bice, D.C., 1980, Tephra stratigraphy and physical aspects of recent volcanism near Managua, Nicaragua: Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ of California, Berkeley, 422 p
- Smithsonian / GVP volcano information

1994 possible phreatic eruption
A possible small phreatic eruption could have occurred at Las Pilas volcano in early 1994. A dense white steam plume was visible on 3 March from at least 10 km south of the volcano.
Geologist visiting the area found a new(?) circular, 10 m diameter pit crater on the upper southern slope of the main crater as the source of the plume. The pit had vertical walls covered with sulfur deposits. 50-75 m to the W, another larger circular pit crater measuring about 30-40 m in diameter was observed.
(Source: Smithsonian / GVP monthly reports)

See also: Sentinel hub | Landsat 8

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