Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — 22 March-28 March 2006

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 March-28 March 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Poas (Costa Rica). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 March-28 March 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

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Poas

Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


On 24 March around noon, small phreatic eruptions began at Poás. The eruptions originated from the bottom of the volcano's Caliente Lake. Witnesses described a sudden emission of water and sediments S of the lake. Roaring was heard in a nearby tourist area and weak earthquakes were felt.

OVSICORI-UNA visited the E side of the volcano on 25 March and confirmed that water, blocks, and sediments from the bottom of the lake had been ejected. Several dozens of impact craters were seen with diameters between 15 and 60 cm, extending E as far as 700 m. Blocks were found that ranged in diameter from a few to 50 cm wide. During 22-27 March, harmonic tremor was recorded. On the 27th, there was a reduction in seismicity and it returned to normal levels. No deformation was measured at the volcano. A news article reported that the area around the volcano was closed to visitors. Poás last erupted in 1994.

Geologic Background. The broad, well-vegetated edifice of Poás, one of the most active volcanoes of Costa Rica, contains three craters along a N-S line. The frequently visited multi-hued summit crater lakes of the basaltic-to-dacitic volcano, which is one of Costa Rica's most prominent natural landmarks, are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the 2708-m-high complex stratovolcano extends to the lower northern flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear and last erupted about 7500 years ago. The more prominent geothermally heated northern lake, Laguna Caliente, is one of the world's most acidic natural lakes, with a pH of near zero. It has been the site of frequent phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions since the first historical eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Sources: Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA), Prensa Latina