Cerro Negro is an active volcano in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range in Nicaragua, about 10 km (6.2 mi) from the village of Malpaisillo. It is a very new volcano, the youngest in Central America, having first appeared in April 1850. It consists of a gravelly basaltic cinder cone, which contrasts greatly with the surrounding verdant hillsides, and gives rise to its name, which means Black Hill. Cerro Negro has erupted frequently since its first eruption. One unusual aspect of several eruptions has been the emission of ash from the top of the cone, while lava erupts from fractures at the base.
Cerro Negro is a polygenetic cinder cone that is part of the Central America Volcanic Arc, which formed as a result of the Cocos Plate subducting under the Caribbean Plate, at a rate of 9 cm (3.5 in) per year. It is the largest and southernmost of four cinder cones that have formed along a NW-SE trend line in the Cordillera de los Maribios mountain range. Despite its youth, Cerro Negro has been one of the most active volcanoes in Nicaragua, with its latest eruption occurring in 1999. Since its birth in 1850, it has erupted approximately 23 times.