Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hardened lava flows of "El Playon"

     The San Salvador Volcano "Quetzaltepec" produced the eruption known as "El Playon" around 1658, which destroyed the town of Nexapa (later relocated & renamed Nejapa).  The picture above is an example of primary succession - the plants that colonized these hardened lava flows have to make do without any soil!  These early pioneer species will eventually prepare a soil matrix that will give way to other successional communities that can't thrive on bare rock - but the process is slooow, the flow picture above is just 354 yr old.  Here's a cool paper on successional "facilitation": Callaway 1995.