Friday, August 05, 2005

Volcano in Nicaragua may have sent signs of possible eruption

Nicaragua's disaster prevention agency on Wednesday warned of an impending eruption of the country's Concepcion Volcano.

A recent series of seisms in Ometepe Island in Nicaragua Lake could be a sign that Concepcion Volcano "has awaken" pending an eruption, according to the Disaster Prevention and Management System (SINAPRED).

The condition of Concepcion warrants "special attention" because the quakes are "a symptom of the start of an eruption process," said SINAPRED Executive Director Cristobal Sequeir.

Claudio Gutierrez, of Nicaraguan Territorial Studies Institute (INETER), also warned that some 10 earthquakes measuring above 4.0on the Richter scale and 20 minor ones "could mean there is an eruption coming."

The official said "never before have we had so strong earthquakes close to the volcano."
INETER recorded the first of the tremors at 4:27 local time (0927 GMT), measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale.

The strongest jolt measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale occurred at 6:03 local time (1103 GMT), with its epicenter located 100 km southeast of Managua.

The Concepcion Volcano unleashed several explosions last week and expelled ashes spreading over 24 km to its west.

The 1,620-meter volcano, 120 km southeast of Managua, is one of the most active in Nicaragua and has had permanent, low-intensity activity with small seismic tremors, constantly releasing gases and creating small explosions in the crater.

A total of 17 eruptions have been recorded since 1883. Moderate eruptions from the volcano in the 1970s and 1980s caused lava flows. The latest eruption took place in 1999.

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