Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — 11 March-17 March 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 March-17 March 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 11 March-17 March 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
Rincon de la Vieja
10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
OVSICORI-UNA reported a minor increase in tremor amplitude at Rincón de la Vieja beginning at 0200 on 12 March. At 1845 on 14 March an eruption was recorded by the seismic network, but weather conditions prevented visual confirmation; strong tremor was recorded during 1845-2030. Tremor levels increased at around 0300 on 15 March and stopped around 0100 on 17 March, possibly indicating a small eruption.
Geologic Background. Rincón de la Vieja, the largest volcano in NW Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. The volcano consists of an elongated, arcuate NW-SE-trending ridge that was constructed within the 15-km-wide early Pleistocene Guachipelín caldera, whose rim is exposed on the south side. Sometimes known as the "Colossus of Guanacaste," it has an estimated volume of 130 km3 and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Activity has migrated to the SE, where the youngest-looking craters are located. The twin cone of 1916-m-high Santa María volcano, the highest peak of the complex, is located at the eastern end of a smaller, 5-km-wide caldera and has a 500-m-wide crater. A plinian eruption producing the 0.25 km3 Río Blanca tephra about 3500 years ago was the last major magmatic eruption. All subsequent eruptions, including numerous historical eruptions possibly dating back to the 16th century, have been from the prominent active crater containing a 500-m-wide acid lake located ENE of Von Seebach crater.