Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — 14 January-20 January 2009
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 January-20 January 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Poas (Costa Rica). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 January-20 January 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
OVSICORI-UNA reported that on 8 January an M 6.2 earthquake occurred about 10 km E of Poás at a depth of 6 km. About 20 people were killed and dozens were missing due to faulting and landslides.
Scientists performing geophysical measurements at the crater on 8 January observed numerous landslides and rockfalls from the inner walls around the active crater, and in the N sector of the main crater. New fractures opened on the E rim and fumarolic activity, from a pyroclastic dome S of the lake in the active crater, increased. Over 1,500 aftershocks were recorded during 8-9 January. On 12 January, scientists observed the rise of black sediment in the crater lake, and a phreatic eruption that ejected sediment and water about 15 m in height, within the crater. The area of the eruption was about 50 m in diameter.
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.