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San Cristóbal from the Ingenio San Antonio sugar mill in Chichigalpa, Nicaragua
|Elevation||1,745 m (5,725 ft) |
|Location||Chinandega Department, Nicaragua|
|Parent range||Cordillera Los Maribios|
|Last eruption||June 2015 (ongoing)|
Volcán San Cristóbal is the highest volcano in Nicaragua at 1,745 m (5,725 ft). Located near to the northwest corner of the country, it forms a backdrop to the city of Chichigalpa, Chinandega. It is also among the most active volcanos in Nicaragua.
San Cristóbal is part of a 5-member volcanic complex that bears the same name. Chonco lies 4 km to the west, and Moyotepe 4 km to the north east. Joined to the volcano's eastern flank is Volcán Casitas, which buried a village with a catastrophic landslide in 1998. The scars from said landslide are still visible today. Finally, La Pelona is located on the eastern end of the complex.
San Cristóbal is the youngest volcano in its complex. It is a nearly symmetrical stratovolcano, rising in a distinctive cone shape. The SW slope is the longest, and the crater rim on that side rises 140 m above the NE end due to prevailing trade winds that distribute tephra to the SW.
The crater is 500 × 600 m in size. While the volcano was at one point covered in tropical forests, the large quantities of gas and smoke that it emits constantly have killed off much of the vegetation.
San Cristóbal remains quite active, continuously expelling copious amounts of gas and smoke. As recent as September 2009, it was reported that ash was falling in nearby towns. In September 2012 it erupted again, spewing ash up to four kilometres (2.5 miles) into the atmosphere, resulting in the evacuation of around 3000 people in the surrounding area.
A further eruption took place, starting on the 25th of December 2012 and continuing into 2013, causing the evacuation of hundreds of locals.