Barva

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 10.135°N
  • 84.1°W

  • 2906 m
    9532 ft

  • 345050
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Bulletin Report: September 2003 (BGVN 28:09) Citation IconCite this Report


Two crater lakes visited in December 2002

Geologist Raul Mora, along with Carlos Ramirez and Maritta Alvarado, visited Barva volcano during December 2002 and investigated the Barva and Copey crater lakes. Located in a small crater, the Barva crater lake (figure 1) was very clear; at 5 m from the shore the water had a temperature of 11-12°C with a pH of 4-5. Water in the Copey lake was amber colored and very cloudy, with a temperature at 0.5 m depth of 12.2°C and a pH of 5. Near-surface black lapilli deposits were found that were more than a meter thick near the Barva lake, but became more irregular in thickness around the Copey lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the Barva crater lake, December 2002. The lake has an area of 9,000 m2 and a depth of ~ 7.7 m. Courtesy of Raul Mora.

Information Contacts: Raul Mora Amador, Red Sismologica Nacional, Laboratorio de Sismologia, Vulcanologia y Exploracion Geofisica, Universidad de Costa Rica, Apartado 214 (2060) UCR, San Jose, Costa Rica (Email: raulmora@hotmail.com, URL: http://www.rsn.geologia.ucr.ac.cr/).

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Barva.

Bulletin Reports - Index


Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

09/2003 (BGVN 28:09) Two crater lakes visited in December 2002




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


September 2003 (BGVN 28:09) Citation IconCite this Report


Two crater lakes visited in December 2002

Geologist Raul Mora, along with Carlos Ramirez and Maritta Alvarado, visited Barva volcano during December 2002 and investigated the Barva and Copey crater lakes. Located in a small crater, the Barva crater lake (figure 1) was very clear; at 5 m from the shore the water had a temperature of 11-12°C with a pH of 4-5. Water in the Copey lake was amber colored and very cloudy, with a temperature at 0.5 m depth of 12.2°C and a pH of 5. Near-surface black lapilli deposits were found that were more than a meter thick near the Barva lake, but became more irregular in thickness around the Copey lake.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Photograph of the Barva crater lake, December 2002. The lake has an area of 9,000 m2 and a depth of ~ 7.7 m. Courtesy of Raul Mora.

Information Contacts: Raul Mora Amador, Red Sismologica Nacional, Laboratorio de Sismologia, Vulcanologia y Exploracion Geofisica, Universidad de Costa Rica, Apartado 214 (2060) UCR, San Jose, Costa Rica (Email: raulmora@hotmail.com, URL: http://www.rsn.geologia.ucr.ac.cr/).

Eruptive History


Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1867 Mar ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain    
6050 BCE ± 2000 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Tephrochronology

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Photo Gallery


Volcán Barva (Barba), seen here from the Central Valley of Costa Rica, is a complex volcano with a broad summit containing three principal peaks and a dozen eruptive vents. Four pyroclastic cones are constructed within the central and NW parts of a 2 x 3 km caldera. The SW peak is capped by another 4 cones, one of which contains a crater lake. Satellitic cones are found on the northern and southern flanks. A large plinian eruption occurred at Barva during the early Holocene. There have been no confirmed historical eruptions.

Photo by William Melson, 1993 (Smithsonian Institution)
See title for photo information.
The SW peak of Barva volcano is capped by at least four volcanic cones. This 2840-m-high cone contains a well-preserved crater filled by the 70-m-wide Barva lagoon. Aztec legends tell of the formation of Barva lagoon and a fearful serpent that devoured children in a nearby village. Nineteenth-century visitors to Barva lagoon noted similar dense vegetation as seen today, discounting reports of earlier historical eruptions.

Photo by José Enrique Valverde Sanabria, 1999 (courtesy of Eduardo Malavassi, OVSICORI-UNA).
See title for photo information.
The forested summit area of Volcán Barva is composed of a series of overlapping cones with about a dozen vents. At the lower right is the well-preserved cone of Danta (whose name means tapir), with a small lake in its crater. Forest-covered lava flows can be seen to its left. Barva is the topographic high point of Braulio Carillo National Park, noted for its lush forests and exotic birds and wildlife.

Photo by Federico Chavarria Kopper, 1999 (courtesy of Eduardo Malavassi, OVSICORI-UNA).
See title for photo information.
Barva volcano rises to the east above the southern flanks of neighboring Poás volcano. The massive Barva volcano is dotted with numerous satellitic vents, some of which are visible along the irregular northern horizon (left). Multiple lava flows descend the southern flank of Barva. One of the more recent of these is the Los Angeles flow, which reaches nearly to the city of Heredia (out of view to the right). Barva is the only one of four major stratovolcanoes near the capital city of San José that lacks confirmed historical eruptions.

Photo by Ichio Moriya (Kanazawa University).
See title for photo information.
The southern flanks of Barva volcano lie in the foreground of this photo, with the flat-topped Irazú massif in the background to the SE. One of the youngest lava flows on Barva, the Los Angeles flow, traveled down the south flank almost as far as the city of Heredia. Barva and Irazú, Costa Rica's highest volcano, form backdrops to the nation's capital city, San José, which lies out of view to the right. Irazú is sometimes known as the "Colossus" due to its massive size and occasionally destructive eruptions.

Photo by Ichio Moriya (Kanazawa University).
See title for photo information.
Barva volcano (also spelled Barba) rises to the NE above the western outskirts of San José. The volcano lies about 22 km north of the city. Three peaks along the broad summit ridge give rise to the name Las Tres Marías (The Three Marias). No confirmed historical eruptions are known from Barva, but thermal springs are found near Porrosati de Barva, Gongolona peak, and along ridges to the north side of the volcano. Sulfur vapor and mineral deposition occurs at landslide scarps on the flanks of the volcano.

Photo by Ichio Moriya (Kanazawa University).
See title for photo information.
The roughly 300-m-wide Barva crater lake is surrounded by dense forest. The clear waters of the shallow lake are about 8 m deep, and a pH of 4-5 was measured in December 2002. Near-surface black lapilli deposits were found that were more than a meter thick near the lake.

Photo by Raul Mora, 2002 (University of Costa Rica).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


The following 45 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections. Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description
NMNH 116066-487 Tephra
NMNH 116066-488 Tephra
NMNH 116066-489 Tephra
NMNH 116066-490 Tephra
NMNH 116066-491 Tephra
NMNH 116066-492 Tephra
NMNH 116066-493 Tephra
NMNH 116066-494 Tephra
NMNH 116066-495 Tephra
NMNH 116066-496 Tephra
NMNH 116066-497 Tephra
NMNH 116066-498 Volcanic
NMNH 116066-499 Tephra
NMNH 116066-500 Tephra
NMNH 116066-501 Tephra
NMNH 116066-502 Tephra
NMNH 116066-521 Tephra
NMNH 116066-522 Tephra
NMNH 116066-523 Tephra
NMNH 116066-524 Tephra
NMNH 116066-525 Tephra
NMNH 116066-526 Tephra
NMNH 116066-527 Tephra
NMNH 116066-528 Tephra
NMNH 116066-529 Tephra
NMNH 116066-530 Tephra
NMNH 116066-531 Tephra
NMNH 116066-532 Tephra
NMNH 116066-533 Tephra
NMNH 116066-534 Tephra
NMNH 116066-535 Tephra
NMNH 116066-536 Tephra
NMNH 116066-537 Tephra
NMNH 116066-538 Tephra
NMNH 116066-539 Tephra
NMNH 116066-541 Volcanic
NMNH 116066-544 Tephra
NMNH 116066-545 Tephra
NMNH 116066-546 Tephra
NMNH 116066-547 Volcanic
NMNH 116066-548 Tephra
NMNH 116066-549 Tephra
NMNH 116066-550 Tephra
NMNH 116066-551 Tephra
NMNH 116066-552 Tephra

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