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HomeCosta RicaRincón de la Vieja Volcano: Alert Raised after Eruptions

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano: Alert Raised after Eruptions

Costa Rica recently raised the alert status for the Rincón de la Vieja volcano following a series of phreatic eruptions in May. Located in the Guanacaste region, this volcano is currently the most active in the country. The eruptions have prompted authorities to upgrade the alert level from yellow to orange caution level, indicating the need for increased vigilance.

Experts have reported the release of plumes containing water vapor and volcanic material, reaching heights of over 3,000 meters above the crater level. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of these eruptions and the subsequent actions taken to address the risks associated with them.

Volcanic Activity and Experts’ Insights

The Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori) at the National University (UNA) has closely monitored the volcano’s eruptions. They have noted changes in the eruption patterns, including the possibility of explosions, ash or lava emissions, pyroclastic flows of limited extent, and an increase in earthquakes. Despite these developments, renowned volcanologist Javier Pacheco assures us that the volcano’s behavior has remained consistent over the past five to six years, with no significant changes.

Phreatic Eruptions and Potential Risks

During May, a total of 58 phreatic eruptions, characterized by the interaction of hot magma and water, were recorded at Rincón de la Vieja. Fortunately, no significant damage has been reported thus far. These eruptions occur when water vaporizes upon contact with the hot magma, resulting in a rapid expansion of volume and subsequent explosion.

While immediate physical damage might be limited, the main concern currently lies with lahars – a mixture of mud and hot water that can flow down the volcano’s slopes and nearby rivers. Lahars have the potential to reach communities situated in the lower regions of the volcano, posing a risk to life and property.

Preventive Measures

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) has taken proactive steps to ensure public safety. Through a press conference, they issued a green alert for specific districts, including Dos Ríos and Aguas Claras in the canton of Upala, as well as Mayorga, Cañas Dulces, and Curubandé in the canton of Liberia.

The CNE has also urged the tourism industry to act responsibly and avoid exceeding limits in areas prone to volcanic activity. They specifically emphasized the need to avoid the Azul, Pénjamo, and Azufrada rivers to prevent potential hazards.

Remain Alert

The recent phreatic eruptions at Rincón de la Vieja volcano in Costa Rica have highlighted the volatile nature of volcanic activity. Authorities have responded swiftly by raising the alert status and implementing preventive measures to mitigate potential risks.

As the volcano continues to behave within its expected patterns, experts and emergency management agencies are working diligently to ensure the safety of nearby communities and maintain responsible tourism practices. By remaining vigilant and informed, we can better understand the dynamics of volcanic activity and prioritize the well-being of all those affected.

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