• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Scientists Study Causes Of Turrialba Volcano Activity

May 11, 2007

After weeks of studying the unusually active Turrialba Volcano, on the Caribbean slope, scientists say that its spectacular increase in gas emissions was most likely caused by tectonic shifts in the region. The volcano, which last erupted in 1866, is unlikely to repeat that performance now, scientists say – though they can’t rule it out just yet.

Mario Fernández, of the National Seismological Network (RSN), told the daily La Nación that although onlookers and experts often interpret increased gas emissions as a sign that an eruption may be imminent, small quakes, rather than magma movement within the volcano, can also produce this effect.

However, “we can’t rule out that there is magma on the rise in Turrialba Volcano and that an eruption will occur,” he said.

Costa Rica experienced 424 quakes (most of them too small to be felt) in April, 58 more than in March. Many of these took place close to the volcano, according to Fernández.

The active volcano, which last erupted from 1864-1866, began releasing increased amounts of sulfuric gases and water vapor March 31, when tourists reported the activity to authorities. Specialists who visited the site quickly concluded there was no reason for alarm and an eruption was not imminent, but the National Emergency Commission (CNE) decided to restrict entrance to the volcano’s crater, a popular tourism destination, to 100 people at a time.

CNE spokeswoman Rebeca Madrigal told The Tico Times this week that the 100-person restriction is still in effect.

The commission is also working on preventive measures including weekly visits to the area to monitor the volcano; installing communications equipment at the volcano so the commission can stay in contact with park guards; and establishing community and national park evacuation routes, along with possible temporary shelter locations in case of emergency, according to an e-mail from Madrigal.

Observers have reported plumes of gases reaching 40-100 meters high.

 

You may be interested

Bikes have a right to the road, MOPT reminds
Costa Rica
3764 views
Costa Rica
3764 views

Bikes have a right to the road, MOPT reminds

The Tico Times - March 1, 2021

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) is reminding drivers that cyclists have a right to the road. In a…

One plane’s 21-hour journey from Costa Rica to Australia
Costa Rica
3348 views
Costa Rica
3348 views

One plane’s 21-hour journey from Costa Rica to Australia

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 1, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the aviation industry. Anyone who has recently flown through Costa Rica's Juan Santamaría…

March 2021: These are Costa Rica’s coronavirus measures this month
Costa Rica
1798 views
Costa Rica
1798 views

March 2021: These are Costa Rica’s coronavirus measures this month

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 1, 2021

Happy March! These are Costa Rica's coronavirus restrictions this month: Travel and borders Costa Rica is welcoming tourists who arrive…