[NICA-BRIDGE] NICA-BRIDGE - Neogene environmental and geological evolution of the Central American bridge between two continents and two oceans

Lake Nicaragua Drilling Project

Climate & Ecosystems
Natural Hazards

Year of Application: 2018

Expedition ID: 99999

Current Status: workshop approved

Master Data

Dr. Steffen Kutterolf (First-PI)

Dr. Armin Freundt (PI)
Dr. Liseth Perez (PI)
Dr. Jens Kallmeyer (PI)
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Krastel (PI)
Prof. Dr. Antje Schwalb (PI)
Prof. Dr. Axel Meyer (PI)

Dr. Elodie Lebas (Scientific Participant)

Geologisches Alter:

Latitude: 11°37'0''N

North America

Regionen & Städte:

Longitude: 85°21'0''W



Drilling Data

Drilling Depth:
Core Yield:
Core Length:
Amount of Drill Holes:
Amount of Drill Locations:

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio:
Core Yield-Core Length-Ratio:


The two largest lakes in Central America, Lake Nicaragua and Lake Managua, are situated in the south-central part of Nicaragua. The location and the proposed long existence (at least Pliocene possibly Late Miocene) make these lakes promising targets for scientific drilling within the International Continental Drilling Program. Drilling objectives of global relevance, assisted by the strategic lakes’ location, include therefore

1) recovery and extension of a Neotropic paleo-climate record into the past,

2) investigation of marine-lacustrine interactions in the past (connections to the oceans), in the recent and the future (channel construction),

3) the history of long tectonic and  sedimentary basin (lake) development,

4) arc evolution and related hazards due to the proximity to the volcanic arc,

5) deciphering their significance as an endemic hot spot  over time,

6) investigation of an important paleozogeographic event, the great American biotic interchange, and

7) the ability to combine seismology, volcanology,  paleoclimate, paleoecology, and paleoenvironment in one project.

Hence, in January 2015, a group of international scientists submitted an ICDP workshop proposal with the aim to develop a scientific drilling project focused on Lakes  Nicaragua and Managua. The proposal was generally well received but noted a significant lack of seismic data, which makes site characterization impossible. Only very  sparse seismic data have been collected in the past but failed to image the deeper subsurface due to technical problems during data acquisition and complicated  depositional conditions (e.g., gas and tephras). Hence, the workshop proposal was not accepted at the current stage. The main aim of this proposal here is to collect  reconnaissance seismic data of Lake Nicaragua in order to show that high-quality seismic pre-site survey data can be collected by means of modern equipment and  considering the experience gained in the last decade at locations with volcanogenic lake sediments. The data will then be used for planning a full pre-site survey. The new  data will also allow to investigate the basin history and seismogenic hazards in and around Lake Nicaragua.

Related Publications

Kutterolf, S., Brenner, M., Dull, R. A., Freundt, A., Kallmeyer, J., Krastel, S., Katsev, S., Lebas, E., Meyer, A., Pérez, L., Rausch, J., Saballos, A., Schwalb, A., Strauch, W. (2023). "Workshop on drilling the Nicaraguan lakes: bridging continents and oceans (NICA-BRIDGE)" Sci. Dril. p73-84