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Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica) — 5 January-11 January 2022


Rincon de la Vieja

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
5 January-11 January 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Rincon de la Vieja (Costa Rica). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 January-11 January 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (5 January-11 January 2022)

Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica

10.83°N, 85.324°W; summit elev. 1916 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


OVSICORI-UNA reported that multiple eruptive events were recorded at Rincón de la Vieja on 5 January, though most of them were small. A notable explosion at 1833 ejected incandescent material above the crater rim that was visible in webcam images for about 30 seconds. Darkness obscured views of a plume and no ash was visible in satellite images. Residents reported hearing a loud explosion and sounds indicating active lahars; lahars in the Penjamo and Azufrado rivers reached residential areas within 50 minutes of the event. An eruptive event was recorded at 1858 on 10 January, though cloud cover prevented visual confirmation.

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.

Source: Observatorio Vulcanologico y Sismologico de Costa Rica-Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA)