Logo link to homepage

Report on Arenal (Costa Rica) — November 1984


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 9, no. 11 (November 1984)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Arenal (Costa Rica) Strombolian activity and lava extrusion continue

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1984. Report on Arenal (Costa Rica) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 9:11. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198411-345033


Costa Rica

10.463°N, 84.703°W; summit elev. 1670 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The Strombolian activity that began to accompany the extrusion of block lava flows in June was continuing in mid-November. The eruptions were accompanied by strong rumblings. Blocks and bombs fell as much as 300 m from the crater. Ash was carried by the wind toward the W, to a distance of 5 km. No losses have occurred to agriculture or livestock. Nevertheless, because of the action of acid rain and ash, some vegetable species have chlorosis symptoms and fungus proliferation, both of which have affected plant development.

Lava flow number 49 ended its advance in October. A new flow (no. 50) began to advance toward the SW in October, stopping in November. Flow no. 51, descending toward the W, was still active in mid-November. Portable seismic stations have been operated periodically. They have not registered type A or B volcanic earthquakes, but only events produced by the explosions, and volcanic tremors of different character.

Geological Summary. Conical Volcán Arenal is the youngest stratovolcano in Costa Rica and one of its most active. The 1670-m-high andesitic volcano towers above the eastern shores of Lake Arenal, which has been enlarged by a hydroelectric project. Arenal lies along a volcanic chain that has migrated to the NW from the late-Pleistocene Los Perdidos lava domes through the Pleistocene-to-Holocene Chato volcano, which contains a 500-m-wide, lake-filled summit crater. The earliest known eruptions of Arenal took place about 7000 years ago, and it was active concurrently with Cerro Chato until the activity of Chato ended about 3500 years ago. Growth of Arenal has been characterized by periodic major explosive eruptions at several-hundred-year intervals and periods of lava effusion that armor the cone. An eruptive period that began with a major explosive eruption in 1968 ended in December 2010; continuous explosive activity accompanied by slow lava effusion and the occasional emission of pyroclastic flows characterized the eruption from vents at the summit and on the upper western flank.

Information Contacts: Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico, Univ. Nacional, Heredia.