Volcano spews ash, incandescent rock in Costa Rica

June 6, 2008

Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano spewed a cloud of ash and an avalanche of incandescent rock Tuesday, the Volcanology and Seismology Observatory (OVSICORI) said.

The wind carried ash as close as 4 kilometers from the town of Arenal, Tomás Marino, OVSICORI’s volcanology coordinator, told The Tico Times yesterday.

An OVSICORI communiqué said the activity was the second small-scale eruption in the past five days, but experts ruled out the possibility of major explosive activity and said these emissions of volcanic material are normal.

“The activity of recent days is characterized by small (volcanic) flows (and) a series of detachments of material due to the collapse of the lava front at the summit of the volcano,” the communiqué said.
Marino said that observatory workers yesterday were studying the mountain closely and will provide another report tomorrow.

Although Arenal, located in northern Costa Rica about 100 kilometers from San Jose, has been permanently active since a major eruption in 1968, scientists have observed an increase in the amount of material spewed from the volcano since Friday.

OVSICORI experts who have been carrying out flights above the volcano verified that the increased activity continued Tuesday and that a cloud of ash had been carried by the wind as far as 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the crater.
Marino said the spewing did not continue yesterday.

No damage has been reported in towns near Arenal and no inhabitants have been evacuated, although some parts of the national park that surrounds the volcano have been closed and authorities remained on alert.

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