Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano reopens after landslide

June 12, 2009

Park officials reopened Arenal Volcano National Park in north-central Costa Rica on Wednesday morning after avalanches prompted emergency workers to evacuate the area on Tuesday afternoon.

Reinaldo Carballo, a spokesman for the National Emergency Commission (CNE), said the volcano has not demonstrated any more signs of disruptive activity and park officials believe it to be safe to re-enter the park.

Carballo confirmed that the volcano produced two pyroclastic flows on Tuesday, but noted that no emergency alert level was necessary for La Fortuna or the surrounding areas.

“The volcano is obviously showing signs of activity, but there is no reason right now to issue an emergency alert,” he said. “We closed the park as a precaution for the people in the area, but there have been no signs of further problems. People can enjoy the park as they did before.”

Jorge Brenes, a volcanologist with the Vulcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica, based at the National University (UNA) in Heredia, north of San José, said scientists with the institute began conducting studies Wednesday morning to determine the cause of thelandslide, but did not have results as of Wednesday afternoon.

The avalanche forced the evacuation of 25 visitors in the park. No injuries were reported.

Last week, University of Costa Rica scientists reported an increase of vapor eruptions at Arenal, prompting them to raise the 4-level States of Volcanic Alert Scale to Level 3, which warns of strong changes in eruption patterns.

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