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Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — 10 April-16 April 2019

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 April-16 April 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 April-16 April 2019. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (10 April-16 April 2019)


Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


OVSICORI-UNA reported that an eruption at Rincón de la Vieja recorded at 0617 on 10 April produced a gas-and-steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and drifted SE. At 0643 on 12 April a plume rose 500 m. Another event was detected at 0700 on 13 April, although poor weather conditions prevented visual observations. On 14 April OVSICORI-UNA noted that aerial photographs taken during an overflight showed a milky-gray acid lake at a relatively low water level with convection cells of several tens meters of diameter in the center and Eastern parts of the lake.

Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge that was constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of 1916-m-high Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.

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