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Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — April 1995


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 20, no. 4 (April 1995)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Poas (Costa Rica) Two new hot springs; moderate number of earthquakes and tremor

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1995. Report on Poas (Costa Rica) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 20:4. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199504-345040


Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Fumarolic activity continued at Poás in the active, northern crater lake. OVSICORI-UNA reported the lake level rose 50 cm in April with respect to March. When observed in April, the lake appeared light green and had a temperature of 41°C. On small areas along the lake's NW and W shore, small bubbles escaped continually. A low (less than 50-m tall) steam cloud hovered over the lake.

On the lake's SW terrace there were two new intermittent springs (74°C and 64°C) that were light-gray in color, presumably caused by suspended sediment. On the S terrace, fumaroles continued to emit gases and on the SW side there appeared a new fumarole with a 74°C temperature. The pyroclastic cone gave off gas that had a 89°C temperature.

Low-frequency seismicity at Poás in April declined by about 15% compared to March (table 6). Tremor began on about 8 March and the monthly duration reached 11 hours, more than the past few months but significantly less than the tens or hundreds of hours recorded during the months of May-September 1994.

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: Erick Fernandez, Vilma Barboza, and Jorge Barquero, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA); Gerardo J. Soto, Oficina de Sismologia y Vulcanologia del Arenal y Miravalles: OSIVAM; Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE); Mauricio Mora, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Universidad de Costa Rica.