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Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) — November 1982

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 11 (November 1982)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Irazu (Costa Rica) Sulfur odors now always detectable in the summit region

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1982. Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 7:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198211-345060.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Costa Rica

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

"Some indications that Irazú may be becoming more active were noted in several trips to the summit. The smell of H2S, only occasionally noticeable in November-December 1981 and again in January 1982, was always detectable in the summit region. On 22 November a small flow of molten sulfur was observed to have advanced several meters from a fumarole at the base of the N wall of the active crater. Park guards believed that it was new that day.

"Faulting and slumping of scarps were reported to have occurred over a large area of the summit during November. This was largely confined to a belt oriented NE-SW and ~3-4 km from the summit crater. Park guards reported a single day in September in which 20-30 earthquakes were felt."

Geologic Background. 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: R. Stoiber, S. Williams, H.R. Naslund, C. Connor, J. Prosser, and J.B. Gemmell, Dartmouth College; E. Malavassi R. and J. Barquero H., Univ. Nacional, Heredia.