Gas columns ‘will be common’ at Poás Volcano

April 23, 2010

Although gas eruptions at the Poás volcano northwest of San José soared on Monday morning, the park will remain open for now.

According to a bulletin from the National University´s Vulcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), a cloud of sulfur sailed out of the crater, reaching a height of 500 meters and moving east.

Park guards described the sulfur smell as “very strong,” but said they did not see any falling solid sediment, such as ash or rock. They added that there were no signs of strong seismic shakes with the eruption.

Scientists with the OVSICORI said that these conditions are normal and that gas columns “will be common” at Poás. The increased temperature within the volcanic dome in the past few weeks – between 600 and 800 degrees Celsius – means more frequent gas eruptions, the OVSICORI said.

On Tuesday morning, winds carried the gases south toward tourist overlooks at Poás, but park rangers said the gas does not pose any threat to visitors and that the park will remain open.

Park guards and scientists will continue to monitor the volcano´s activity and could temporarily close the park if conditions become dangerous for visitors.

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