I can't think of a more exciting way to finish off an already amazing week than the hike I took today around the Nindiri crater. It involved hiking up and down hills on loose, sand-like ground and even a bit of rock climbing to get down to the plateau just next to the crater! Along the way, we took gravity readings, and interestingly enough, it was hard to find consistent readings because of some of the aftershocks in Chile.
Once we were down on the plateau in between the Santiago and Nindiri craters, we discovered Pele's hair, which is a phenomena found on the plateau that literally looks like clumps of hair. Apparently, small bubbles of magma burst out of the volcano amidst the gasses and as they are tossed into the air, they are drawn into long, hair like strands of glass. The slightly bigger globs at the end of the hair are known as Pele's tears.
After making this discovery, I made my way over to the very edge of the plateau, and saw my closest view of the volcano vent all week (I think I was about 200 meters up). It was an incredibly windy, gassy day, so many of the pictures look rather cloudy and overcast, but it was actually a beautiful day! After we finished the Nindiri hike, we made our way back over to the bunker on the north end of the crater, and saw some very clear examples of the damage the sulphur dioxide can cause... Can you see the rust on the locks and chain? Those locks were put out 4 days ago!
I leave for the airport bright and early tomorrow morning, so this will be my last entry from Masaya, which I learned literally means "home of the deer," a name given by the indigenous people who first settled the area. It has been an unbelievable week packed with adventure, fun, and lots of learning; I can't wait to be able to share all the details when I get home. See you on Monday!!!