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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

volcanic field 1088 m / 3,570 ft
Nicaragua, 12.5°N / -86.69°W
Current status: dormant (1 out of 5)
Las Pilas volcano books
Last update: 5 Jul 2013 (strong degassing from pit crater next to El Hoyo crater)
Typical eruption style: explosive
Las Pilas volcano eruptions: 1994 (?), 1954, 1952, 1528 (?)
TimeMag. / DepthDistanceLocation
Mon, 18 Sep
Mon, 18 Sep 05:31 UTCM 3.8 / 69 km31 km39 km al Oeste de Managua, Nicaragua.
Sun, 17 Sep
Sun, 17 Sep 19:34 UTCM 4.1 / 53 km94 km- 63km SW of Corinto, Nicaragua
Sat, 2 Sep
Sat, 2 Sep 22:10 UTCM 4.7 / 80 km42 km Nicaragua
Mon, 21 Aug
Mon, 21 Aug 10:32 UTCM 3.6 / 114 km42 km54 km al Oeste de Rivas, Nicaragua.
Sun, 20 Aug
Sun, 20 Aug 15:39 UTCM 4.7 / 158 km1 km Nicaragua
View all recent quakes
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.

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)

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