San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Costa Rica volcanoes

Costa Rica’s Rincón de la Vieja Volcano explodes vapor and ash

Experts from the National University’s Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) on Thursday reported that Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, located in Guanacaste province, has seen increased vapor activity and explosions.

Strong explosions were recorded on Wednesday at 1:54 p.m. On Thursday at about noon, a tall column of vapor and ash was visible on top of the volcano’s crater.

Local residents told OVSICORI that ash had fallen on the roofs of their homes in an area six kilometers around the volcano, mainly in communities north of the crater in Upala and Buenos Aires.

Volcanologist Javier Pacheco on Thursday said activity at the volcano had been low in the past 15 years, but monitoring equipment recorded an increase in deposits of volcanic material in the crater.

Ash, mud and vapor explosions intensified last year, but inspections in recent months found that material mostly fell in the area surrounding the crater. Some of this material also fell on rivers located north of the volcano, mostly carried by rain during the past rainy season, Pacheco said.

OVSICORI experts recommend that visitors avoid getting too close to the volcano’s crater. The region is a popular destination for tourists attracted by the volcano as well as several lodging options including hot springs resorts.

Costa Rica’s volcanoes in recent years have seen a noticeable increase in eruptive activity. Among them are the Turrialba and Irazú volcanoes in Cartago, and Poás and Arenal volcanoes in Alajuela.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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