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Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — January 1992


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 17, no. 1 (January 1992)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Poas (Costa Rica) Gas emission from crater lake

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1992. Report on Poas (Costa Rica) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 17:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199201-345040


Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The water level of the sky blue to green crater lake increased at least 3 m in November-December, before dropping 1.2 m in January. Intermittent streams that fed the lake in December were no longer visible in January, and a layer of yellow sediments was exposed by the lake's retreat. Large gas clouds rose from the crater lake and were carried SW-W. Phreatic explosions, last seen in [September 1991], were not observed in December or January. The temperature of the lake remained fairly constant (around 70°C; ICE), although some measurements suggested a slight increase from December to January (64 to 67°C; OVSICORI), and the pH was <0.01 (ICE). Dome fumaroles had temperatures of up to 87°C in January, similar to November (90°C).

A total of 4,343 low-frequency earthquakes were recorded in January, with a daily average of 197 (down from 262/day in September when there were sporadic phreatic explosions). No high-frequency events or tremor episodes were recorded.

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.

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, V. Barboza, and J. Barquero, OVSICORI; G. Soto and R. Barquero, ICE.