San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Officials Prepare for Possible Turrialba Eruption

Turrialba Volcano has relieved an unusual amount of pressure in the past few weeks, and scientists, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) and community leaders in the surrounding area are preparing for the worst.

The commission has restricted access to the crater atop Turrialba to avoid the possibility of visitors to the national park being burnt by the increasingly frequent release of steam and vapors, the daily La Nación reported.

“Volcanic activity has been increasing and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. All the ingredients are in place for the possibility of an eruption,” said Eliécer Duarte, of the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI).

The volcano could “rupture the cap atop its crater,” but would not spew lava, Duarte predicted.

Besides restricting access, the Emergency Commission has also installed five communication bases to monitor seismic activity in the area, and instructed the Turrialba branch to plan evacuation routes, particularly those leading out of the national park (TT,May 11).

According to Duarte, the precautions are necessary, but such activity is relatively common among Costa Rica volcanoes. In March 2006, he said, Poás Volcano experienced similar tremors and pressure release.


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