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Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) — May 1994


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 5 (May 1994)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Irazu (Costa Rica) Warm grass-green lake still contains active fumaroles

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:5. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199405-345060


Costa Rica

9.979°N, 83.852°W; summit elev. 3432 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An ICE report for May stated that fumarolic activity continued in the bottom of the main crater. The warm grass-green-colored lake remained at the same level as in January and March. Water temperature was in the range 20-24.5°C (temperature of the inner lake, 21.4°C), and the minimum pH was 5.5. Fumarole temperatures reached as high as 86°C, and subaqueous fumarolic activity, which involved mainly CO2, maintained the same vigor as seen in January and March. Fumarolic activity on the NW flank was unchanged. In May, the OVSICORI deformation network did not register significant changes.

Geological Summary. Irazú, one of Costa Rica's most active volcanoes, rises immediately E of the capital city of San José. The massive volcano covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad flat-topped summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava flows have been identified since the eruption of the massive 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 historically active crater, which contains a small lake of variable size and color. Although eruptions may have occurred around the time of the Spanish conquest, the first well-documented historical 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.

Information Contacts: G. Soto, Guillermo E. Alvarado, and Francisco (Chico) Arias, ICE; Héctor (Chopo) Flores, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Univ de Costa Rica; E. Fernández, J. Barquero, V. Barboza, and W. Jiménez, OVSICORI.