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Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) — May 1996

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 21, no. 5 (May 1996)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Irazu (Costa Rica) No tilt in April-May but tens of local earthquakes

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1996. Report on Irazu (Costa Rica). In: Wunderman, R (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 21:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199605-345060.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Costa Rica

9.979°N, 83.852°W; summit elev. 3432 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During May the lake's water was yellow in color and its surface dropped by 40 cm with respect to March 1996. Irazú's seismic station (IRZ2), located 5 km SW of the active crater, registered 55 and 26 events during April and May respectively; all were only detected locally. For the interval April through May dry-tilt measurements failed to show significant changes.

Geologic Background. Irazú, one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes, rises immediately E of the capital city of San José. The massive volcano covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad flat-topped summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava flows have been identified since the eruption of the massive Cervantes lava flows from S-flank vents about 14,000 years ago, and all known Holocene eruptions have been explosive. The focus of eruptions at the summit crater complex has migrated to the W towards the historically active crater, which contains a small lake of variable size and color. Although eruptions may have occurred around the time of the Spanish conquest, the first well-documented historical eruption occurred in 1723, and frequent explosive eruptions have occurred since. Ashfall from the last major eruption during 1963-65 caused significant disruption to San José and surrounding areas.

Information Contacts: Erick Fernández, Elicer Duarte, Vilma Barboza, Rodolfo Van der Laat, and Enrique Hernandez, Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Apartado 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica; Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismología y Vulcanología, Departamento de Geología, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), Apartado 10032-1000, San José, Costa Rica.