Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — 5 August-11 August 2020
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
5 August-11 August 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, 5 August-11 August 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 that phreatic activity at Rincón de la Vieja had significantly decreased compared to activity during January-May. Events were recorded at 0546 on 5 August and at 1000 on 8 August, but not visually confirmed due to weather conditions. A phreatic explosion at 0035 on 6 August generated a plume that rose 500 m above the crater rim. Small steam plumes were visible on 10 August; one at 0845 was likely produced from a small phreatic event. Another s small phreatic event was detected later that day at 2346.
Geological Summary. 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 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 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 3,500 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.