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Report on Arenal (Costa Rica) — May 1987

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 5 (May 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Arenal (Costa Rica) New lava flow; explosions decrease; tremor continues

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Arenal (Costa Rica). In: McClelland, L (ed.), Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198705-345033.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Arenal

Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


The number of explosions decreased in May to 201 events (figure 11) that were mostly of low energy. Tremor remained at a normal level. During a helicopter flight over the volcano, two hot spots were seen in the active crater and an incipient lava flow extended NW.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 11. Seismicity recorded at Arenal at station FOR, May 1987. Daily number of volcanic earthquakes (top) and maximum daily tremor amplitude (bottom). Courtesy of ICE.

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: R. Barquero and Guillermo Alvarado, ICE.