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Explosion at Rincón de la Vieja Volcano spews vapor, gases into the air

May 24, 2017

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano recorded a strong explosion of hot water, vapor, gases and mud that, according to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), began at around 10:12 a.m. on Tuesday.

Expelled materials were visible on the north slope of the volcano, located some 270 kilometers (167 miles) northwest of San José in the province of Guanacaste.

Residents of the nearby community of Upala reported hearing a loud sound during the explosion, similar to that of a jet turbine. Mud and other materials from the volcano also fell on the Penjamo River and changed the water color, OVSICORI report stated.

The National Seismological Network reported that a seismic monitoring station located south of the volcano recorded a tremor associated with the explosion that lasted for about a minute and a half.

Blas Sánchez Ureña, a geologist at the National Emergency Commission, said in a news release at approximately 3 p.m. that the commission had not received any reports of damage from nearby communities.

Rincón de la Vieja is one of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes, along with Turrialba, Poás, Irazú, Miravalles and Arenal.

Its most recent activity occurred last year with similar vapor and gas explosions. On March 9, 2016, local residents told OVSICORI experts that ash had fallen on the roofs of their homes, mainly in communities north of the crater in Upala and Buenos Aires.

Penjamo river, Guanacaste.
Materials from the explosion fell on the Pénjamo river and turned its water muddy. (Via OVSICORI)

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