Volcano Review

Want to see what a hurricane looks like on a seismometer?

Hurricane Sandy is currently making my house shake, so I thought I’d share what it’s doing to our seismometer in northeast PA. That extreme background noise is NOT the wind. It’s the storm waves crashing on the beach 100 miles away and traveling through the ground. For comparison, here’s what a normal day with low background noise looks like. Stay safe, everybody.

One more picture of San Cristobal

Yesterday, I posted some pictures of San Cristobal taken during fieldwork in Nicaragua and I just found one more. It was taken from Cerro Negro and shows 5 volcanoes, both dormant and active, in a straight line. Most importantly, it shows San Cristobal (the volcano of the hour) 2nd from the back.


Volcan San Cristobal Before the Eruption

As most of you have heard by now, Nicaragua’s Volcan San Cristobal has erupted, which is not unusual as the volcano has been active for hundreds of years. This is of course a subduction zone and San Cristobal is simply one of many volcanoes along this margin.

Most of my research has focused on northwest Nicaragua, so I know the area fairly well. My main interest in San Cristobal was using argon dating to figure out how old it is, which turned out to be quite difficult. Being an active volcano, the area has been subjected to many thousands of years worth of hydrothermal alteration, which makes it difficult to generate quality data. My oldest argon age for San Cristobal was 160,000 years (see Carr et al. 2007 from my “about” page). Given the sudden interest in one of my favorite volcanoes, I thought I’d share a few of my pictures taken during my fieldwork. Enjoy. volcano clast


Keystone College is a member heof the Lamont-Dorty Cooperative Seismic Network (LCSN), which operates out of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

The LCSN is a unique seismic network that partners with institutions all over the northeastern United States to monitor earthquakes and assess seismic hazards.

Since we installed our broadband seismometer in the summer of 2009, we have recorded events of all sizes from small local earthquakes to some of the most devastating earthquakes in recorded history. The data is free and available to the public on the LCSN website. Click here to view the active seismometers in the network.


I am a volcanologist and geology professor at Keystone College.

My research is on the evolution of volcanic arcs and I work in Central America and the Lesser Antilles. Volcanoclast is a place for people who like rocks.

If you’re interested, here’s a list of my publications:

Saginor, Ian, Gazel, Esteban, Carr, Michael J., Swisher, Carl, Turrin, Brent (2011) Miocene to Recent Volcanic History of Western Nicaragua and Geochemical Evolution of the Central American Volcanic Front, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 202, 143-152.

Saginor, Ian, Gazel, Esteban, Carr, Michael J. (2011), Progress and Challenges Using 40Ar/39Ar Geochronology in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Revista de Geologia de America Central, in press. Gazel, E., Hoernle, K., Carr, M.J., Herzberg, C., Saginor, I., van den Bogaard, P. Hauff, F., Feigenson, M.D & Swisher III, C. (2011), Arc-plume interaction in Central America: Influx of Galapagos asthenosphere and slab melting, LITHOS, 121, 117-134.

Carr, M. J., Saginor, I., Alvarado, G. E., Bolge, L. L., Lindsay, F. N., Milidakis, K., Turrin, B. D., Feigenson, M. D., and C. C. Swisher III (2007), Element fluxes from the volcanic front of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 8, 6, 1525-2027.