Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — 8 April-14 April 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
8 April-14 April 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 April-14 April 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Rincon de la Vieja
10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
OVSICORI-UNA reported periodic hydrothermal explosions at Rincón de la Vieja during 8-14 April. A possible small eruption occurred at 0658 on 8 April and was followed by a decrease in the amplitude of tremor signals. Beginning at 0033 on 11 April a small-scale hydrothermal explosion was recorded by the infrasoiund and seismic networks for 20 seconds. Water and sediment was ejected onto the upper flanks of the volcano. The event was recorded by the webcam located in Sensoria, 4 km N of the crater. In the morning local residents noted that the water in the Pénjamo River was milky white. A small hydrothermal explosion at 0251 on 13 April produced a plume of steam and gas that rose 500 m.
Geological Summary. 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 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 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 3,500 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.