Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) — 26 August-1 September 2020
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 August-1 September 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Irazu (Costa Rica) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 26 August-1 September 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
9.979°N, 83.852°W; summit elev. 3436 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
OVSICORI-UNA reported that Irazú’s seismic network recorded land movement 1.2 km SW of the SW crater rim in a high area used for radio and television antennas. Landslides in the area had been observed since 2014, but activity accelerated in the previous months. The number of events indicating landslides began to exponentially increase particularly after 20 August. The rate of movement had increased to 20 m/year horizontally and about 25 m/year vertically by 24 August; movement of more than 20 cm was recorded during 23-24 August. A large block collapsed to the NW, into the Rio Sucio drainage, during the morning of 26 August.
Geological Summary. The massive Irazú volcano in Costa Rica, immediately E of the capital city of San José, covers an area of 500 km2 and is vegetated to within a few hundred meters of its broad summit crater complex. At least 10 satellitic cones are located on its S flank. No lava effusion is known since the eruption of the 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 main crater, which contains a small lake. The first well-documented 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. Phreatic activity reported in 1994 may have been a landslide event from the fumarolic area on the NW summit (Fallas et al., 2018).