San Cristobal volcano, also known as El Viejo, is the highest and one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua. It is located near the northwest corner of the country near the city of Chinandega, 110 km WSW of the capital Managua.
San Cristobal has had frequent small to medium-sized ash eruptions reported since the 16th century. When first observed by the Spanish in 1528, the volcano was in strong eruption and was described as sending “smoke” during the day and “flames” at night.
The San Cristóbal volcanic complex at the NW end of the Marrabios Range consists of 5 main volcanic edifices: 1 the main cone of San Cristóbal, which contains a 500 x 600 m wide crater, 2 El Chonco, with several flank lava domes, located 4 km to the west of San Cristóbal, 3 the eroded Moyotepe volcano 4 km to the NE of San Cristóbal, 3 Volcán Casita with an elongated summit crater immediately east of San Cristóbal, and 5 La Pelona, an older caldera is located at the eastern end of the San Cristóbal complex.
Volcán Casita volcano was probably active in the 16th century and has several active fumarole fields. It was the site of a catastrophic landslide and lahar in 1998, triggered by torrential rains from Hurricane Mitch, and killing 1560 people.