VOLCANISM IN CENTRAL AMERICA
Created by: Anna Colvin
Welcome to the Volcanism in Central America webpage! This webpage presents infomation about remote sensing and volcanology
in Central America. The Central American arc hosts more than 70
volcanoes which have been active during the Holocene, many of
which are currently active. This large number of volcanoes and high
level of activity makes Central America a great natural laboratory to
study active volcanism. There are some studies underway to
understand the Central American volcanic arc as a whole, for example the Subduction
Factory (see below), but there is ample opportunity for student and professional research projects.
This webpage presents some resources available for volcano
monitoring and satellite remote sensing of Central American volcanoes.
For: Geology of Central America
Dr. Bill Rose
Last Updated December 2006
You can check up on active volcanoes at the Smithsonian/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity report http://www.volcano.si.edu/reports/usgs/index.cfm
Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program: Volcanoes of Mexico
and Central America http://www.hrw.com/science/si-science/earth/tectonics/volcano/volcano/region14/-
Volcanoes of Central America
(2006) on CD-ROM by L. Siebert, P. Kimberly, C. Calvin, J. Luhr, and G. Kysar
Mattietti. Smithsonian Institution, Global Volcanism Program, Digital
Information Series, GVP-7. CD-ROM can be ordered from http://www.volcano.si.edu/info/products/centamcd/centamcd.cfm
Glynn-Williams Jone's website has a focus on Latin American volcanoes,
with a volcanology-related bookstore and a lising of professionals who
work in Latin America. http://volcanoes.ca/index.html
from the Margins-NSF Program http://www.nsf-margins.org/index.html
Subduction of oceanic plates causes earthquakes,
tsunamis and explosive volcanism. Subduction also gives rise to
beneficial products, such as ore deposits, geothermal energy and
the very ground we live on. The Subduction Factory recycles raw
materials from the seafloor and underlying mantle, creates products
on the upper plate in the form of melts, aqueous fluids and gases,
and modulates the dynamics of plate tectonics. The Subduction
Factory Initiative (SubFac) aims to study fluxes through the subduction
zone to address three fundamental science themes:
These themes will be addressed by focused investigations
on active subduction Zones. The Central American and Izu-Bonin-Mariana
(IBM) subduction systems were selected for focussed study by the
geoscientific community during a series of open meetings based
on the following criteria: ample volcanic and seismic activity,
accessibility to both input and output, along-strike variations
in forcing functions, cross-arc and historical perspectives, minimal
upper plate contamination of magmas, and ability to address the
primary science objectives, and because they have contrasting
tectonic and chemical characteristics, allowing different forcing
functions to be investigated and modelled.
- How do forcing functions such as convergence
rate and upper plate thickness regulate production of magma
and fluid from the Subduction Factory?
- How does the volatile cycle (H2O and CO2) impact
chemical, physical and biological processes from trench to deep
- What is the mass balance of chemical species
and material across the Subduction Factory, and how does this
balance affect continental growth and evolution?
Click here for some recent (2001-2006) Central America MARGINS publications http://www.nsf-margins.org/SEIZE/CR-N/References.html
Many Central American volcanoes are monitored by
volcano observatories, government organizations and university research
centers. Here isa listing of World Organizaion of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) in Central America and Mexico
(http://www.wovo.org/dir-contents.htm) and the volcanoes they monitor.
1) Observatorio Vulcanologico, Universidad de
Volcanoes Monitored: Volcan
2) Popocatepetl Volcano Observatory (POVO); Centro
de Prevencion de Desastres (CENAPRED); Instituto de Geofisica,
Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). http://www.cenapred.unam.mx/
Volcanoes Monitored: Popocatepetl.
1) Instituto Simologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia
Volcanoes Monitored: Santiaguito.
2) Coordinacion Nacional para la Reducción
Volcanoes Monitored: Santiaguito, Fuego, Pacaya.
1) Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales
De Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. http://www.snet.gob.sv/Geologia/Vulcanologia/inicio.htm
Volcanoes Monitored: Santa Ana,
San Salvador, San Miguel, Izalco,
San Vincente, Ilopango.
2) Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra, UNIVERSIDAD
DE EL SALVADOR
(UES), San Salvador.
Volcanoes Monitored: Geochemical and geophysical monitoring.
1) Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios
(INETER), Nicaragua. http://www.ineter.gob.ni/geofisica/vol/dep-vol.html
Volcanoes Monitored: San Cristóbal, Telica, Cerro Negro,
Momotombo, Masaya, Volcán
1) Observatorio Vulcanológico y
Sismológico de Costa Rica
Volcanoes Monitored: Rincon de la Vieja, Arenal, Poás, Irazú and
2) Observatorio Sismológico y
Vulcanológico de Arenal y Miravalles
(OSIVAM), Oficina de Sismología y Vulcanología (OSV),
de Electricidad (ICE).
Volcanoes Monitored: Arenal, Miravalles, Rincon de la Vieja.
More info. on GOES from NOAA: http://www.oso.noaa.gov/goes/
A variety of
satellite remote sensing data is available for Central America via the
web. Satellite data can be used to measure temperature, gas
output, topography, etc. Some satellite imagery are available free of
charge, e.g. AVHRR or MODIS, and while others are available for a
nominal cost, e.g. ASTER. This is a list of several valuable satellite
remote sensing resources.
The NASA's EOS Data Gateway provides many data types, including Landsat, ASTER, MODIS, AVHRR, OMI, and TOMS. http://delenn.gsfc.nasa.gov/~imswww/pub/imswelcome/
More info. on MODIS: http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/
MODVOLC, the near-real-time automated hotspot detection system operated by University of Hawaii: http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu/
Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, SOEST, operates a near-real-time hotspot monitoring system for GOES:
INETER, Nicaragua, operates an AVHRR HRPT Receiving Station which archives data for Central America: http://sat-server.ineter.gob.ni/page03/countries.htm
check out: Introduction to the Monitoring of Volcanic Thermal Activity
in Central America via AVHRR Satellite Remote Sensing by MJ Wooster and
JPL runs the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (STRM), which provides
near-global elevation data. 90m spatial resolution DEMs are available
for Central America: http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/
Andres, R. J., and Rose, W. I., 1995, Description of
thermal anomalies on two active Guatemalan volcanoes using Landsat thematic
mapper imagery, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 61, no. 6,
Burton, M. R., and Oppenheimer, C., 2000, Remote sensing
of CO (sub 2) and H (sub 2) O emission rates from Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua,
Geology, 28, no. 10, 915-918.
Cameron, B.I., and Walker, J.A., 2006, Diverse volcanism in
southeastern Guatemala: The role of crustal contamination, in: eds. Rose et
al., Geological Society of America Special Paper 412, Volcanic Hazards in
Central America, 121-139.
Carr, M.J., Feigenson, M.D., Patino, L.C., and Walker, J.A., 2003,
Volcanism and Geochemistry in Central America:
Progress and Problems, Inside the Subduction Factory, Geophysical Monograph v.
Carr, M.J., Saginor, I., Alvarado, M.J.C., Bolge, L.L., Lindsay, F.N.,
Turrin, B., Feigenson, M.D., and Swisher, C.C., 2006, Element Fluxes from the Volcanic
Front of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, in press.
Duffield, W., Heiken, G., Foley, D., and others,
1993, Oblique synoptic images, produced from digital data, display strong
evidence of a "new" caldera in southwestern Guatemala, Journal of
Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 55, no. 3-4, 217-224.
Galle, B., and Oppenheimer, C., A miniaturised ultraviolet
spectrometer for remote sensing of SO (sub 2) fluxes; a new tool for volcano
surveillance, 2003, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 119, no.
Harris, A. J. L., Flynn, L. P., Matias, O., and Rose, W.I.,
2002, The thermal stealth flows of Santiaguito Dome, Guatemala; implications
for the cooling and emplacement of dacitic block-lava flows, Geological Society
of America Bulletin, 114, no. 5, 533-546.
Harris, A. J. L., and Flynn, L. P., 2000, Real-time satellite
monitoring of volcanic hot spots, Remote sensing of active volcanism,
Geophysical Monograph, 116, 139-159.
Harris, A. J. L. and Flynn, L. P., 2004, The evolution of an
active silicic lava flow field; an ETM+ perspective, in Volcanic observations
from space; new results from the EOS Satellite instruments, Journal of
Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 135, no. 1-2, 147-168.
Harris, A.J.L., Pilger, E., and Flynn, L.P., 2002,
Web-based Hot Spot Monitoring using GOES: What it is and How it Works,
Advances in Environ. Monitoring and Modelling, 1, no. 3, 5-36.
Harris, A.J.L., Pilger, E., Flynn, L.P., and
Rowland, S.K., 2002, Real-time Hot Spot Monitoring using GOES: Case
Studies from 1997-2000, Advances in Environ. Monitoring and Modelling,
1, no. 3, 134-151.
Harris, A. J. L., and Rose, W. I., 2003, Temporal
trends in lava dome extrusion at Santiaguito 1922-2000, Bulletin of
Volcanology, 65, no. 2-3, 77-89.
Horrocks, L. A., and Oppenheimer, C., 2003, Compositional
variation in tropospheric volcanic gas plumes; evidence from ground-based
remote sensing, in, Volcanic degassing, Geological Society Special Publications,
Mather, T. A., and Pyle, D. M., 2006, A reassessment of current
volcanic emissions from the Central American arc with specific examples from
Nicaragua, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 149, no. 3-4,
Oppenheimer, C., and Rothery, D. A., 1991, Infrared
monitoring of volcanoes by satellite, in, Monitoring active volcanoes, Journal
of the Geological Society of London, 48,563-569.
Oppenheimer, C. and Pyle, D. M., editors, 2003, Volcanic
degassing: Geological Society Special Publications 213, London Geological
Society of London.
Oppenheimer, C., 1993, Infrared surveillance of crater
lakes using satellite data, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 55,
no. 1-2, 117-128.
Oppenheimer, C., 1996, Crater lake
heat losses estimated by remote sensing, Geophysical Research Letters, 23, no.
Rodriguez, L. A., and Watson, I. M., 2004, SO (sub 2)
emissions to the atmosphere from active volcanoes in Guatemala and El Salvador,
1999-2002, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 138, no. 3-4,
Sheets, P.D., 1994,
Archaeology, volcanism, and remote sensing in the Arenal region, Costa Rica: University
of Texas Press, Austin, TX.
Sofield, D., 2004, Eruptive history and volcanic
hazards of Volcan San Salvador, in Natural hazards in El Salvador, Geological
Society of America Special Paper 375, 147-158.
Wright, R., and Flynn, L.P., 2004, Space-based
estimate of the volcanic heat flux into the atmosphere during 2001 and
2002, Geology, 32, no. 3, 189-192.
Wright, R., Flynn, L.P., Garbeil, H., Harris, A.,
and Pilger, E., 2002, Automated volcanic eruption detection using
MODIS, Remote Sensing of the Environment, 82, 135-155.