Sunday, 27 January 2013


The Ring of Fire not only produces many earthquakes but also volcanoes. We have been lucky enough to many different ones during the trip. A summary.

1. Poas, Costa Rica.
We walked to the top of this volcano. Unfortunately it was covered in cloud and we couldn't see the crater lake even though we were metres from it. The lake is really acidic . It has a pH of 0! It bubbles gases though little geysers all the time.

2. Arenal , Costa Rica.
This is a cone shaped, young volcano. It is less than 7500 years old. In 1968 it destroyed a whole town. Up until 2010 it was one of the worlds most active volcanoes but has since quietened down.
We walked up to the old lava flow. It was really hard to walk on and most of it was pumice. We walked up to a sign that said, " Danger of death . Do not pass! "

3. Turrialba, Costa Rica.
This volcano was close to Finca la Flor. When we were weeding we looked up and saw steam and smoke coming out of the top. The gases are carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and hydrochloric acid. It last erupted in 1866.

4. Ometepe Island, Nicaragua .
The island is made up of two volcanoes , Maderas and Concepcion.
Concepcion is a stratovolcano. It's cone is almost symmetrical. It rises1610 m above sea level. It last erupted in 2007 with lots of ash deposits. It is still really active and spits out ash and smoke clouds all the time.

We first got a glimpse of Concepcion from the ferry and it looked like it was rising out of the lake. It was huge and a perfect volcano shape. We were really scared when we found out it was still active. We actually drove along the volcano evacuation route that would take us to the other part of the island ( a dormant volcano) to safety.

5. Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua.
This is a 200 m deep, 20,000 year old crater lake. We swam in this and it was quite warm because there are still hot gases bubbling up. It is supposed to have healing properties. We hiked uphill from our lodge to a mirador on the rim of the crater. Then we really could see that we were inside a volcano. The water looked really clear and blue. We were surprised that the lake had waves.

Kayaking in the crater lake.

6. Masaya , Nicaragua.
Masaya is a shield volcano. It was Nicaragua's first and largest National Park. It has lots of calderas and craters. The sides are covered in AA lava. Sulphur dioxide is emitted continuously from this volcano.

This was the best volcano ever! After looking round the visitor centre we were transported to the rim of the crater. We could see deep into the crater but we could only stay for 5 minutes because the poisonous gases made it hard to breathe. Any longer they would have got into our lungs. We hiked up higher and saw gas and smoke plumes all over the landscape. We watched the sun setting over the volcano.
Next we walked into a lava tube. We braved the bats as we entered. The tube was formed by flowing lava. As the lava hit the air the top cooled but the inner part kept moving. This created a tunnel hundreds of feet long big enough to stand inside. There was bat poo everywhere.
Now it was really dark and time for my favourite part. We drove to another part of the crater rim,as close as we could to the crater and had to wait in the bus with the windows closed. At the signal we had to run out using our jumpers as gas masks and had to look down into the heart of the crater. It was glowing red. We could actually see the red hot lava. It was fantastico!

Interesting volcano facts.

There are two types of volcano; explosive ( ash explodes into the air) and effusive ( the lava kind).
There are three main volcano shapes; cinder cone,shield and strato volcanoes.
Pumice is a volcanic rock. It floats and is used al over the world to scrub feet!
There are 1500 active volcanoes in the world. Most of them are in Central America.
Volcanoes are born, grow old, then die.
The planet Mars has the tallest volcano.
If a volcano erupts you should stay inside so the ash does not overwhelm you.
Volcanoes are named after Vulcan , the roman god of fire.
The loudest sound ever recorded was from a volcano.
Inside the volcano the hot red liquid is called magma. When it reaches the surface it becomes lava.

Technical terms.
Caldera - a cauldron like feature due to the collapse of the cone.
Aa lava - stony rough lava that blazed when it was hot.


  1. Thanks for this post - I learnt lots and you reminded me of lots of things I used to know when I was your age and I liked volcanoes. I've never seen a real one though :o(
    At nursery where I work the volcano activity is so popular with the boys - now I can share your information with them next time we make an eruption. We use red food colouring, sodium bicarb and vinegar. Gabi x

  2. Thanks for reading our blog Gabi. We have loved the volcanoes on the trip especially the live ones. Mums favourite activity on the whole trip was the lava tunnel.

  3. Not the tar tunnel then Apryl? ( Ironbridge?)