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Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) — October 1993


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 10 (October 1993)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Irazu (Costa Rica) Low seismicity; migrating fumaroles; lake level rises

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:10. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199310-345060


Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

During October, Irazú exhibited low seismicity together with migrating subaqueous fumaroles and rising water in its crater lake. Over the 2-month interval from September to October the water level rose 40 cm. Scientists noted the following during October in Irazú's crater lake: an emerald-green color, a minimum pH of 5.6, and a typical water temperature range of 18.7-24.6°C. The maximum water temperature reached 92°C at bubbling sites within the NE part of the lake. Other sites with notable bubbling were situated in the N, NW, and E. Compared to the previous few months, steam emitted from the N fan decreased in vigor, discharged over a reduced area, and exhibited lower temperatures (less than 81.4°C in October). The seismometer, 5 km SW of the main crater, recorded little activity.

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.