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Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — May 1997


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 22, no. 5 (May 1997)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Poas (Costa Rica) Number of monthly earthquakes high in April, lower in May

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1997. Report on Poas (Costa Rica) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 22:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199705-345040


Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During April, fumarolic degassing and weak bubbling continued in the 29°C, green-turquoise-colored crater lake. On the N crater floor there appeared a new 80-m-long fracture with fumaroles depositing sulfur; weakly escaping gases there had temperatures of 94°C. The same temperature was measured at the accessible part of the pyroclastic cone, and other fumaroles reached temperatures of 92-93°C. A steam plume rose 300 m above the crater floor.

April seismicity increased to 2,532 events (2,192 low-frequency and 339 medium-frequency). Only one month in the previous year had more events: during January 1996 there were 4,045 events. The high seismicity was not sustained, May 1997 earthquakes only numbered 1,020. In conjunction with medium-frequency earthquakes, people watching the volcano noticed new fumaroles. The distance net showed no significant changes during 1997.

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: E. Fernandez, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, T. Marino, V. Barboza, W. Jimenez, R. Saenz, E. Duarte, M. Martinez, E. Hernandez, and F. Vega, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA).