Volcanoes Create Fertile Soil

Volcanoes Create Fertile Soil

Members of Chester Garden Club with a yen for travel were treated to an interesting presentation by fellow member Cynthia Spraggs at the club’s April meeting. Program chair Esther Amiro introduced Cynthia as an experienced traveler whose work allows her to explore some of the world’s most remote areas, from deserts to mountains to volcanoes.  Choosing from among the many countries she has visited in recent years, Cynthia provided an overview of Nicaragua’s terrain and the vegetation that it supports.

She pointed out that Central America lies on the Ring of Fire that has been responsible for so many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions over the years, and that it is the volcanic ash laid down as a result of those eruptions that has provided such fertile soil for vegetation in many parts of the world.

With the help of a Power Point presentation, Cynthia focused most of her talk on the expedition she and her friends undertook to reach the summit of two majestic volcanoes on Ometepe Island, situated inland in  Lake Nicaragua.  Formerly a quiet unexplored area of the country, the island has become something of an ecotourist attraction in recent years because of its tranquil beauty. The views at the top of these volcanoes are spectacular and the island is covered with dense vegetation, home to a variety of flora and fauna.   
Cynthia noted that volcanoes cover only 1% of the earth’s surface but the correlation between their effect on soil fertility and luxurious vegetation, including rainforests, is very clear. Among the many tropical flowers that grow naturally on Ometepe island are bougainvilleas, daturas, orchids and even a “false Bird of Paradise”. 

Cynthia also spoke about other interesting places to visit in Nicaragua, including Corn Island off the Caribbean coast, which is noted for its coral reefs that provide excellent snorkeling and diving. She noted that many petroglyphs have been found on Ometepe, and that the island contains some strange plants such as the “Sore mouth bush” which is purported to have medicinal qualities. [Photos of the Nicaraguan views are  from Cynthia’s collection]

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