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- Photo via Volcanological and Seismological Observatory -

Guanacaste volcano enters a new eruptive period

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Published on Wednesday, September 6, 2023
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The National Emergency Commission declared that the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Upala Canton in Alajuela Province has entered a new eruptive phase.

This volcano is the most active in the entire country. According to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory statistics there were 58 eruptions documented between May and June alone.

The volcano has been erupting continuously from Aug. 25 to Sept. 4 there were documented 13 eruptions.

On Sept. 4, they observed a column of gasses rose 3,280 feet above the crater as a result of the natural event.

This form of ejection is distinguished by the presence of high-temperature magma, which, when exposed to water, allows the heat created in the volcano's soil or surface to evaporate rapidly, resulting in a huge explosion of steam, water, and ash.

Given the volcano's continual activity, authorities usually advise caution and urge visitors to avoid accessing regions of higher risk, such as the volcano's crater.

Authorities warn the public not to approach the volcano and to avoid the rivers Azul, Pénjamo, and Azufrada, where hot volcanic materials have been observed floating.

This is because, following an eruption, lahars transfer mud, hot logs, and sediments from the crater lake to rivers, posing a threat to people visiting zones near those rivers.

Among the preventive actions is the continually watched in real-time by advanced volcanic surveillance equipment, according to the scientists.

The Commission maintains an emergency committee composed of residents from Buenos Aires, dos Ros, Gavilán, Manzanares, Argelia, San Luis, and Burma. They are in charge of carrying out the essential actions in the case of an eruption-related emergency.

Warning signs in Spanish and English have been installed in locations surrounding the volcano to alert people to potentially dangerous areas. These also display instructions regarding what steps to take in the event of an eruption.

Visitors were denied entry to the crater region in April, as a precaution against the possibility of ongoing eruptions. A Green Alert was also issued in some communities surrounding the volcano.

The alert allows emergency commands in towns near the volcano to be updated with information about volcano eruptions. This is critical information for residents of Dos Roses and Aguas Claras in Upala Canton, Alajuela Province, as well as Mayorga, Caas Dulces, and Curubandé in Liberia Canton, Guanacaste Province.

The volcano was designated as having a level 2 eruption warning. This is issued when there is strong ongoing activity at the volcano. The warning lets scientists keep a close eye on probable spikes in eruptions, gas emissions, temperatures, tremors, ash fall, acid rain, or hazardous gas emissions.

Rincon de la Vieja is an active strato volcano part of the Guanacaste mountain range and is the largest and most active volcano in the country's northwest region. The volcano has a complex of nine craters, and its summit reaches an elevation of more than 6,200 feet.

The volcano is known for its geothermal activity, which includes hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots. The volcano has a national park that covers an area of approximately 84,000 acres, and it is a popular destination for hiking and nature tourism.

The Rincon de la Vieja National Park is an important part of Costa Rica's natural heritage. It has a unique landscape and geological features making it a popular tourist and research destination.

How should park rangers handle visitors due to volcano ongoing eruptions?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com