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Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) — September 1993


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 9 (September 1993)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Irazu (Costa Rica) Low-level seismic activity; small earthquake beneath flank

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:9. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199309-345060


Costa Rica

9.979°N, 83.852°W; summit elev. 3436 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

In June-September Irazú exhibited ongoing fumarolic activity and low-level seismicity. In mid-June the crater lake pH value remained stable at 5.5 compared to the more acidic values of 3.8-2.8 in 1991, and 4.9-5.6 in 1992. Also stable through mid-August was the maximum fumarole temperature, 91°C, which has changed comparatively little since July 1991. As of July, subaqueous fumaroles in the N and SE portions of the lake persisted, but fumaroles seen in 1991 at points to the N and NE have disappeared. Dry-tilt showed no changes in June or July, and was unreported thereafter. From June to September seismic station IRZ2, 5 km SW of the main crater, continued to register microseismic activity as well as sporadic low-frequency events. On 7 June a M 1.8 earthquake took place, focused at a point 2.3 km SW of the summit at a depth of 4.9 km.

Geological Summary. The massive Irazú volcano in Costa Rica, immediately E of the capital city of San José, covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava effusion is known since the eruption of the Cervantes lava flows from S-flank vents about 14,000 years ago, and all known Holocene eruptions have been explosive. The focus of eruptions at the summit crater complex has migrated to the W towards the main crater, which contains a small lake. The first well-documented eruption occurred in 1723, and frequent explosive eruptions have occurred since. Ashfall from the last major eruption during 1963-65 caused significant disruption to San José and surrounding areas. Phreatic activity reported in 1994 may have been a landslide event from the fumarolic area on the NW summit (Fallas et al., 2018).

Information Contacts: E. Fernández, J. Barquero, R. Van der Laat, F. de Obaldia, T. Marino, V. Barboza, and R. Sáenz, OVSICORI; G. Soto, ICE.