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Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — February 1990


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 15, no. 2 (February 1990)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Poas (Costa Rica) Intermittent geyser-like activity and sulfur emission from shrinking crater lake

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1990. Report on Poas (Costa Rica) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 15:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199002-345040


Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

February activity was characterized by intermittent geyser-type phreatic eruptions from the center of the hot crater lake, reaching maximum heights of 2-3 m. Sulfur emissions from a vent in the NE part of the lake coated the crater wall, coloring it light yellow. The crater lake has been enriched in sediments transported by surface erosion. As evaporation has exceeded input from precipitation, the level of the lake has continued to fall.

Seismicity increased slightly in February. A total of 9,460 events were recorded the first 27 days of the month, a mean of 350/day. Most of the events were B-type, with some A-type shocks and brief tremor episodes.

Geological Summary. The broad 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 are easily accessible by vehicle from the nearby capital city of San José. A N-S-trending fissure cutting the complex stratovolcano extends to the lower N flank, where it has produced the Congo stratovolcano and several lake-filled maars. The southernmost of the two summit crater lakes, Botos, last erupted about 7,500 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 an eruption was reported in 1828. Eruptions often include geyser-like ejections of crater-lake water.

Information Contacts: Mario Fernández and Hector Flores, Univ de Costa Rica.