|Sierra Negra Volcano / Volcan Chico
Permitted Uses: Interpretive and educational tours Photography and filming
Volcán Chico is located northeast of Sierra Negra volcano at an altitude of approximately 860masl. There is access by footpath and horse trail, which are clearly signposted.
Volcan Chico is a fissure of some parasitic cones, composed of slag and lava. This fissure had its last eruption in November 1979. Its activity lasted for a period of two weeks. On 13 April 1963, Chico Volcano had even stronger eruption, the activity lasted one month, and at that time, the lava flows fell to Elizabeth Bay and covered a large sector east of the Sierra Negra volcano, consuming large sections of vegetation.
Volcan Chico is just northwest of the caldera, so it is not affected by the drizzle that always percipitates into the southeastern sector of the high islands. This is one of the reasons why Volcan Chico is in perfect condition and visitors can appreciate it when there is good visibility and sunshine.
In the northeast side of the caldera of Sierra Negra volcano, on 22 October 2005 an eruption occurred that lasted one week. The lava flow covered much of the interior of the caldera and in some places rose more than two meter.
The Sierra Negra volcano is considered the oldest of the volcanoes on Isabela. According to some geologists, including Nordlie, the wider and shallower a caldera, the more ancient. This conclusion is reached by theory and observations which indicate that volcanic processes in calderas tend to break down its edge, filling it. This activity is characterized by tremors and eruptions that are going on for over thousands and millions of years.
The youngest volcano is Cerro Azul, followed by Wolf, Fernandina, Darwin, Alcedo and Sierra Negra. This area is extremely active, having recorded three volcanic events in the 90s: two in Fernandina (91 and 95) and one in Cerro Azul (September 1998). The Sierra Negra caldera is 10 km across and is the second largest in the world. (The largest is Tgorontgoro in Tanzania).
From Puerto Villamil you can rent a vehicle, after a journey of 45 minutes, arrive at the site "El Cura" where horses are taken to skirt the eastern side of the caldera of Sierra Negra to the site named "Los Jaboncillos" a place where horses are tied to continuing the journey on foot to Volcán Chico.
The area lacks good weather and we must be prepared for heavy rain or drizzle. It's easy to get lost in the fog, the group must remain united at all times and must be able to recognize certain outstanding features of the land so as to permit the return by the same route in the mist if necessary.