San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
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Turrialba Volcano maintains low activity following weekend explosion

After nearly two months of minimal activity, Costa Rica’s Turrialba Volcano recorded an explosion early last Saturday that produced an ash plume some 500 meters (1,640 feet) high, according to the National University’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI).

The temperature in the crater during the past two months has remained between 300 and 450 degrees Celsius (572 to 842 degrees Fahrenheit). OVSICORI previously had recorded temperatures up to 600 C (1,112 F) so comparatively, experts say, the volcano’s current activity can be considered low.

The volcano, located in Cartago province some 40 miles east of the capital San José, was frequently active from February through May of this year, spewing ash and vapor over the Central Valley, closing the airport on several occasions and forcing neighbors to evacuate.

Browse The Tico Times’ volcano coverage 

Since May the number of quakes has decreased and OVSICORI’s station at the volcano has only recorded tremors caused by the movement of materials and fluids in the inner crater, vulcanologist María Martínez confirmed.

Gas spewings, which at some point reached 5,000 tons per day, have gradually declined to 300 tons or less, the report adds.

The decreased activity is classified as normal, but OVSICORI experts say gas and ash explosions similar to those experienced on Saturday, could still occur.

Activity at Turrialba peaked between October and May, and despite the problems caused by the volcano during the latter part of its peak, the volcanologists’ report states that the biggest explosion was actually recorded on Oct. 29 at 11 p.m.

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) is still keeping a two kilometer perimeter around the crater closed to tourists. A Yellow (preventive) Alert also remains in place for the Cartago cantons of Turrialba and Alvarado.

See a video of the recent explosion recorded by OVSICORI

Tico Times reporter Zach Dyer contributed to this story.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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