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Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — 14 January-20 January 2009


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 January-20 January 2009
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Poas (Costa Rica) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 14 January-20 January 2009. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (14 January-20 January 2009)


Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

OVSICORI-UNA reported that on 8 January an M 6.2 earthquake occurred about 10 km E of Poás at a depth of 6 km. About 20 people were killed and dozens were missing due to faulting and landslides.

Scientists performing geophysical measurements at the crater on 8 January observed numerous landslides and rockfalls from the inner walls around the active crater, and in the N sector of the main crater. New fractures opened on the E rim and fumarolic activity, from a pyroclastic dome S of the lake in the active crater, increased. Over 1,500 aftershocks were recorded during 8-9 January. On 12 January, scientists observed the rise of black sediment in the crater lake, and a phreatic eruption that ejected sediment and water about 15 m in height, within the crater. The area of the eruption was about 50 m in diameter.

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.

Source: Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA)