A reappraisal of the 1835 eruption of Cosigüina and its atmospheric impact

S. Self, M. R. Rampino, M. J. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the "great" January 1835 eruption of Cosigüina volcano, Nicaragua, andesitic magma and lithic material were erupted over a period of at least three days. Proximal facies consist of clastogenic lava, scoria-fall, and lithic ash-fall produced by phreatomagmatic to vulcanian or plinian activity, together with surge deposits and lithic block-falls. Pyroclastic flow deposits covered some flanks of the volcano and entered the sea in the Gulf of Fonseca. Little record exists of the distal ash-fall, thus the total bulk volume erupted can only be roughly constrained to 2.9-5.6 km3. Furthermore, the amount of juvenile material is thought to be small. A recent study of volatiles in 1835 scoria suggests sulfur release from the magma was negligible. This reappraisal indicates that the Cosigüina eruption probably had little global climatic impact. Despite its violent nature, the magnitude of the eruption was modest. The eruption occurred too late to initiate the Northern Hemisphere cooling trend form 1828-1836. Dry fogs and other atmospheric optical phenomena usually observed after eruptions that contribute significantly to the stratospheric aerosol burden were not recorded after 1835.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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