Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — 18 June-24 June 2014

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 June-24 June 2014
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2014. Report on Poas (Costa Rica). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 June-24 June 2014. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

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Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2708 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

OVSICORI-UNA reported that a phreatic eruption from Poás was recorded at 1008 on 20 June. The explosion generated a plume 200 m above the crater lake. The plume was mainly water vapor with entrained lake sediments (which contained sulfur precipitates and altered rocks). Other gases such as SO2, H2S, HCL, HF, and others were also included.

This was the second phreatic explosion to occur in June. There was no visual record of that event, but routine inspections by the National Park staff on 2 June determined that during the night, there had been a large explosion evidenced by significant fall deposits around the crater lake shoreline. A solar panel had also been damaged by falling rocks associated with that explosion. Seismicity suggests indicated explosive signatures at 1954 on 1 June.

On 18 June, observatory staff noted that between 1000 and 1343, small phreatic eruptions were occurring within the lake. One of these explosions released a strong sulfur smell and large waves. The water temperature was recorded at 44.6°C with a pH of -0.49.

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.

Source: Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA)