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Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — August 1992


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 17, no. 8 (August 1992)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Poas (Costa Rica) Vigorous thermal activity; crater lake rises

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1992. Report on Poas (Costa Rica) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 17:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199208-345040


Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The level of the crater lake continued to rise, and was 1-2 m higher during 11 August fieldwork by Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) geologists than it had been in June. Its color ranged from lime green to turquoise to sky-blue. Bubbling was observed in the central, N, and NE parts of the lake on 11 August, feeding columns <1 m high and generating waves. Boiling mud/sulfur springs on the SE side of the lake had temperatures of 95.3°C. The maximum measured lake temperature in August was 75°C; pH was 1.3. Fumaroles in the N part of the lake had temperatures of 95°C and a condensate pH of 1.8. Temperatures of fumaroles on the 1953-55 dome varied between 62 and 81°C.

UNA recorded an average of 163 low-frequency events/day, with a maximum of 289 on 31 August. At 1,242 that day, a M 2.2 earthquake occurred 8 km NE of the active crater at 16 km depth. Tremor at frequencies of 1-2.5 Hz occurred sporadically, for periods of 1-2 minutes.

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