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Report on Turrialba (Costa Rica) — 11 January-17 January 2012


Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
11 January-17 January 2012
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2012. Report on Turrialba (Costa Rica). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 January-17 January 2012. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (11 January-17 January 2012)


Costa Rica

10.025°N, 83.767°W; summit elev. 3340 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

OVSICORI-UNA reported that on 11 January local people around Turrialba heard several instances of rumbling. On 12 January an eruption occurred from a fissure on the SE flank of the main crater, in an area called La Quemada. An ash plume rose 500 m above the crater and drifted NNW, rising to an altitude of 4 km (13,000 ft) a.s.l. Later that day residents reported: a dark plume from La Quemada and a white vapor plume that rose from the fumarolic vent formed in the main crater on 5 January 2010.

According to a news article, the Turriabla National Park closed on 12 January and the National Emergency Commission (CNE) raised the Alert Level from Green to Yellow in the communities of La Central (34 km SW), Santa Cruz (7 km SE), and around the perimeter of the crater. Towns of Jiménez (21 km N), Oreamuno (45 km SW), Alvarado (38 km SW), and Cartago (25 km SW) remained at Alert Level Green.

Geological Summary. Turrialba, the easternmost of Costa Rica's Holocene volcanoes, is a large vegetated basaltic-to-dacitic stratovolcano located across a broad saddle NE of IrazĂș volcano overlooking the city of Cartago. The massive edifice covers an area of 500 km2. Three well-defined craters occur at the upper SW end of a broad 800 x 2200 m summit depression that is breached to the NE. Most activity originated from the summit vent complex, but two pyroclastic cones are located on the SW flank. Five major explosive eruptions have occurred during the past 3500 years. A series of explosive eruptions during the 19th century were sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows. Fumarolic activity continues at the central and SW summit craters.

Sources: La Nacion, Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA)