Turrialba, one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes, resumed its activity this week with explosions of gas, vapor and ash that experts from the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) say are within the normal parameters.
The most recent explosions occurred Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. and reached heights of 2 kilometers. The gas plume headed west from the volcano, located some 67 kilometers northeast of the capital San José, therefore the vapor trail passed unnoticed for most residents in Central Valley communities.
OVSICORI also reported two explosions at 1:50 p.m. and 6:10 p.m. Monday with heights close to 500 meters.
On Sunday OVSICORI sensors detected a tremor, or continuous vibration, at Turrialba caused by the passage of fluids through underground conduits, and that prompted the exhalations of gases, vapor and ash.
Experts from the National Emergency Commission (CNE) have been conducting surveillance operations since Sunday at the volcano to detect any unusual increase in Turrialba’s activity.
Following Tuesday’s explosions CNE director Walter Fonseca said officials found traces of ash on vehicles and rooftops at the commission’s facilities located next to Tobías Bolaños International Airport, west of San José.
Aviation Administration Director Álvaro Vargas told daily La Nación Tuesday evening that Tobías Bolaños airport would be closed at least until 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, in order to better evaluate the possible effects of ash on the terminal.
AERIS, the company that administers the country’s main international airport, Juan Santamaría, said the airport had not been affected by ash but that authorities will remain vigilant in case they need to take any action.
Video of Tuesday evening’s explosion recorded by OVSICORI’s webcam: