Friday, January 13, 2012

Costa Rica's Turrialba Volcano Alert Level Raised To Yellow

Costa Rica's Turrialba volcano has been raised to alert level "Yellow" in response to reports of increased seismicity, and emissions. Residents and pilots reported seeing a gas plume (possibly containing ash), and some photos seem to confirm this (below). Turriabla has had several major explosive eruptions in the last 3200 years, with most historical activity being fairly small (some phreatic eruptions and minor explosive events). It is anyone's guess as to how this particular volcano will behave if it does decide to erupt.

Turrialba Volcano in Costa Rica (Credit not given from original website)

Increase emissions with ash and gas do not always lead to a major event. The volcano Cerro Hudson in Chile recently came out of 'hibernation' and gave a small 'burp' of ash and gas for a couple days, but then quieted down quickly. As the M.O. for Turrialba seems to be many brief, weak events, with the very occasional large event, this event will likely be small and brief. Time will tell.

Costa Rica has many active volcanoes, 5 of which are the typical repeat offenders (Poas, Irizu, Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, and Turrialba) as far as frequent eruptions. Of the volcanoes in Costa Rica, only a few have little to no historical volcanic activity (Tenorio, Miravalles, Orosi, an Platanar). The four least active volcanoes doe however display hydrothermal or fumerolic activity, and were considered to be of Holocene age by the Smithsonian GVP, and their referenced volcanologists.

Costa Rica, like most Latin-American countries, the US, and Canada lie on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Costa Rica, is prone to frequent eruptions from Poas, and Arenal (very rare to see these volcanoes dormant).

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