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Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — 10 May-16 May 2023

Rincon de la Vieja

Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 May-16 May 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 May-16 May 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (10 May-16 May 2023)

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

OVSICORI-UNA reported that periodic phreatic eruptions occurred at Rincón de la Vieja during 9-16 May. Phreatic events recorded at 1945 on 9 May, at 1419 on 10 May, and at 1100 on 11 May produced plumes that rose less than 1.5 km above the crater rim. Additional phreatic activity were recorded at 2232 on 11 May, and at both 2332 and 2338 on 12 May, though it was not known if emissions were generated. A short-lived explosive event at 0258 on 14 May ejected material onto the N flank and caused lahars to descend the Penjamo, Azul, and Azufrado rivers. Phreatic events at 1155 and 1748 that same day produced emissions that rose 500 m and 1.5 km above the crater rim, respectively. Gas emissions were occasionally visible during 15-16 May.

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.

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