Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — 5 April-11 April 2006
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 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, 5 April-11 April 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 1 April, clear weather allowed OVSICORI-UNA staff to visit Poás for the first time since explosions occurred during 24-26 March. They confirmed that Laguna Caliente at the volcano's summit had widened, and that sediments and blocks from the lake's bottom and surrounding walls were ejected during the explosions. The lava dome's (or pyroclastic cone's) N wall was greatly fractured and a 40 x 7 x 8 m segment of the wall was gone. In addition, a 40 x 4 x 6 m chunk of the SE wall of the lake was missing and must have been destroyed during the explosions. They also found that the lake was light gray due to large quantities of suspended sediments, had a temperature of 54 degrees Celsius, had a pH of 0.63, and the lake level had decreased in comparison to the level before the explosions.
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.