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Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — 29 May-4 June 2013


Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 May-4 June 2013
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2013. Report on Poas (Costa Rica) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 29 May-4 June 2013. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (29 May-4 June 2013)


Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

OVSICORI-UNA reported that during May temperatures of the cryptodome at Poás were high enough to produce nighttime incandescence. Maximum temperatures of 575 and 450 degrees Celsius were recorded on 8 and 30 May, respectively. Activity of the lake was very similar to that reported for May 2012, characterized by sporadic phreatic eruptions and a slow decline in the water level. On 8 May 2013 the water level was 0.5 m below the level measured on 8 May 2012. Phreatic eruptions occurred at 1100 on 1 May, at 1700 on 8 May, and at 1125 and 1510 on 28 May. Fumarolic activity was variable.

During the early morning hours on 2 and 3 June, residents reported a gas plume rising 1 km above the crater floor. OVSICORI-UNA noted that recent plumes were high-temperature (450-575 degrees Celsius) and rich in sulfur dioxide, giving the plumes a bluish-white color.

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)