STS51A-32-65

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Spacecraft nadir point: 11.3° N, 86.3° W

Photo center point: 12.0° N, 86.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: North

Spacecraft Altitude: 163 nautical miles (302km)
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Image Caption: MASAYA VOLCANO ERUPTION, NICARAGUA
The Masaya Caldera, an active basaltic shield volcano, is
seen here venting steam in a relatively minor eruption.
Volcanic landforms characterize much of the Pacific coastal
region of Nicaragua and are typical of the western sector of
nearly all of Central America. There, the oceanic Cocos
tectonic plate is being forcefully subducted beneath the
western edge of the Caribbean plate. As a consequence,
frequent earthquakes are generated and the Cocos plate is
partially melted in the hot upper mantle. Molten rock
percolates back to the surface generating two kinds of
volcanic eruptions of intermediate composition (andesite)
such as at El Chichon, Mexico , and Mount Saint Helens,
Washington.
A part of lake Managua is seen in the upper left and
part of Lake Nicaragua is visible on the right. In the
center is the lake-filled caldera just to the east (right).
The city of Managua is visible just on the left edge of the
photograph on the southern shore of Lake Managua. This
photograph was taken using a Hasselblad 70 mm camera
equipped with a 250 mm lens from an altitude of 171 nautical
miles.