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Report on Arenal (Costa Rica) — November 1991

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 16, no. 11 (November 1991)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Arenal (Costa Rica) Strombolian explosions and block lava

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1991. Report on Arenal (Costa Rica). In: McClelland, L (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 16:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199111-345033.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Arenal

Costa Rica

10.463°N, 84.703°W; summit elev. 1670 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Lava and tephra emission continued in November from Crater C. The flow observed on the SW flank in September-October reached 850 m elevation. Strombolian explosions ejected ash, bombs, and blocks, producing 1-km-high columns and vibrating windows 2.7 km S of the crater (at Observatorio Vulcanológico y Biológico de la Finca La Macadamia). Gas and ash clouds were carried predominantly NW, W, and SW. Fumarolic activity continued in the summit crater (D).

Geologic Background. Conical Volcán Arenal is the youngest stratovolcano in Costa Rica and one of its most active. The 1670-m-high andesitic volcano towers above the eastern shores of Lake Arenal, which has been enlarged by a hydroelectric project. Arenal lies along a volcanic chain that has migrated to the NW from the late-Pleistocene Los Perdidos lava domes through the Pleistocene-to-Holocene Chato volcano, which contains a 500-m-wide, lake-filled summit crater. The earliest known eruptions of Arenal took place about 7000 years ago, and it was active concurrently with Cerro Chato until the activity of Chato ended about 3500 years ago. Growth of Arenal has been characterized by periodic major explosive eruptions at several-hundred-year intervals and periods of lava effusion that armor the cone. An eruptive period that began with a major explosive eruption in 1968 ended in December 2010; continuous explosive activity accompanied by slow lava effusion and the occasional emission of pyroclastic flows characterized the eruption from vents at the summit and on the upper western flank.

Information Contacts: E. Fernández and J. Barquero, OVSICORI.