Exploring an Active Volcano in Nicaragua

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Exploring an Active Volcano in Nicaragua

How does an active volcano shape the world around it? Peer into the crater of the Masaya Volcano to find out.

Previously Funded Expedition

Explore this expedition

Read testimonials
Join Ambassador Program
Earn expedition discounts & rewards for spreading the word about Earthwatch.

Have a question?


The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

The volcano belches out harmful gases like sulfur dioxide and heavy metals like lead—it’s critical to know where they enter the food chain.

Join the first research study to systematically analyze how the Masaya Volcano affects its environment.

Working alongside the researchers, you’ll trace the path and ultimate fate of the gases emitted by the volcano, starting from the volcano’s magma and moving through the gas plume into the soil, water, and ultimately, plants and animals. Knowledge of how volcanic pollutants travel and where they end up can help local people live more harmoniously with the Masaya by cultivating more acid-tolerant crops, for example, and developing safer evacuation plans.

Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua

Masaya Volcano releases harmful gases—it’s critical to know where they enter the food chain.

The volcano can also give us insight into the global impact of persistently active volcanoes. To address human-induced climate change, we need a better understanding of natural processes like volcanic eruptions. Although eruptions increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and contribute to the greenhouse effect, the impact of volcanoes is much smaller than that of burning of fossil fuels by humans. Volcanic eruptions also have a cooling effect, because the sulfur-rich gases they propel into the atmosphere form clouds that reflect solar radiation back into space. Through this project, we hope to learn more about how volcanoes like the Masaya fit into this very complex picture.

About the research area

Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua, Central America & The Caribbean

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:

The Scientists


Dean and Director of Studies for the Faculty of Science, Open University

ABOUT Hazel Rymer

Prof. Hazel Rymer investigates how active volcanoes like the Masaya in Nicaragua affect their environments and global climate change.



Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


Comments & Questions

Got a question for Earthwatch, prior expedition participants, or just have something to say?

Tell us what’s on your mind!

Have a question?


Please login to post a comment or question.

Displaying results

Upcoming Expeditions

You are currently on our Earthwatch U.S. website. If you are interested in learning more about our expeditions and seeing contribution costs listed in Pounds and Euros, please close this dialog box. To visit our new Earthwatch Europe website, click the button below.

To view and book expeditions with prices in Australian Dollars CLOSE this dialogue box OR Click the button below for all other Earthwatch Australia content on our new website.