By Aneira Davies

A TEAM of volcano hunters are hoping to discover why a recently formed lava lake has formed

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Videographer / director: Marc Szeglat
Producer: Mark Hodge, Nick Johnson
Editor: Joshua Douglas

Volcano videographer, Marc Szeglat and his team investigated the bubbling lava lake

The boiling lava lake, situated in the Santiago crater of the Masaya volcano in Nicaragua, is one of eight similar active lakes around the world and only started to appear in early December last year.

The Masaya volcano in Nicaragua is one of eight volcanoes in the world that have lava lakes

Volcano videographer, Marc Szeglat from Oberhausen, Germany has been following the volcano with a team and even had to get special permission from the Nicaraguan government to visit the crater.

The team have estimated by the colour of the lava that it is around 1100 degrees

He said: "First it was not more than a glowing spot in the conduit of the crater. After some days lava was visible. Since than the lava lake has grown to its present diameter of 30 x 20m."

Marc Szeglat, from Oberhausen, Germany, has been fascinated with volcanoes since he was 17

The team set up an electronic seismograph and tried to measure the temperature of the lake but say it is difficult to get exact readings due to the gas flux. Instead, they have estimated by the colour of the lava that it is around 1100 degrees.

The lake started off as a 'glowing spot'

Marc, who is also founder of the German Volcanological Society, has spent most of his life hunting for volcanoes and climbed his first active volcano, Stomboli, in 1990.

He said: “The first time in I visited a volcano, I was 17. I was on holliday in Naples and visited Mount Vesuvius and Pompei. I became fascinating by the destructive forces of nature."

Within days, the lake grew to the size it is now

The Masaya volcano is southeast of the capital Managua and is well known for the parrots that live in the crater walls, although numbers have decreased recently, due to unknown reasons.

The volcano’s last eruption was in 1670, although there have been ash eruptions as recently as 2008. It is possible, Marc says, that the lava lake could grow even more and threaten the local community.

Marc reassured that there is no big threat of the volcano erupting

He explained: “At the moment there is not a big threat for the surrounding area, but in its history Masaya produced some large scale eruptions.

“There are some footprints in ash layers between 6000 and 2000 years old.”

Marc and his team had to get special permission from the Nicaraguan government to visit the crater

But Marc says that he wasn’t in a huge amount of danger when visiting Masaya, although he admits the volcano gases are not healthy for the lungs. 

He said: “Normally lava lakes are not dangerous phenomena. 

He added: “Watching the lava lake was an exciting experience. The boiling lava seemed almost hypnotic.”