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Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) — June 1994


Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 19, no. 6 (June 1994)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Irazu (Costa Rica) Ongoing fumarolic activity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1994. Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 19:6. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199406-345060


Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Observations by ICE scientists at Irazú in late June indicated continued fumarolic activity in the bottom of the main crater. Compared with observations made in May, the warm crater lake changed color slightly (to a greenish brown) and the lake surface rose by about 1 m. The shifts in color and lake height may be attributable to debris from small rockfalls that typically came off the NE, E, S, and W sides of the inner crater walls. Lake pH was 5.5; its temperature was 20-24.5°C, averaging 21.1°C. The temperature of fumaroles ranged up to 84.2°C, and subaqueous fumaroles remained as vigorous as reported in January, March, and May. Since last reported, fumarolic activity on the NW flank also remained unchanged.

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, Guillerma E. Alvarado, and Francisco (Chico) Arias, ICE; Héctor (Chopo) Flores, Escuela Centroamericana de Geologia, Univ de Costa Rica.