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Report on Poas (Costa Rica) — November 1992


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 17, no. 11 (November 1992)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Poas (Costa Rica) Strong thermal activity in and around 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, 17:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199211-345040


Costa Rica

10.2°N, 84.233°W; summit elev. 2697 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Summit rainfall caused variations in the level of the crater lake, which was lower in November and early December than in September and October, and below its level of the same time last year. Shrinkage of the lake exposed molten-sulfur deposits on its SE and N sides. Nearly continuous phreatic activity in the center of the lake sent material to 1-2 m height. The most active fumaroles were in an area of terraces N of the lake. Temperatures of the most accessible vents reached 129°C. Gas columns rose 500 m above the crater floor and were carried by the wind onto the W and SW flanks, where residents reported sulfur odors and scorched grasses. The lake temperature varied between 75 and 80°C in November, with a pH of 1.4. On 4 December, the lake color was yellow-green to sky-blue and its maximum measured temperature was 67°C. Fumarole temperatures on the 1953-55 dome did not exceed 85°C.

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 and J. Barquero, OVSCIORI.