The Rincón de la Vieja volcano, in the north of Costa Rica, registered a powerful eruption without affecting people or infrastructure, one month after the last notable eruption, authorities informed.
“Today at 14:34 hours, the Rincon de la Vieja volcano made a powerful eruption. The plume composed of water vapor and volcanic material reached a height of 3 thousand meters above the crater level”, said Cyrill Müller, volcanologist of the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori) of the National University (UNA).
This eruption was phreatic and occurred when an interaction between hot magma and water vaporized and increased its volume a thousand times in seconds, producing an explosion.
The Rincón de la Vieja volcano is one of the five active volcanoes in Costa Rica, located in the Guanacaste region, about 270 kilometers northwest of San José.
So far, it is at level 2 of 4 alerts, which means a state of significant seismicity and small eruptions with significant emission of acid gases, according to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica.
Müller pointed out that the eruption, which occurred one month after the last similar one, generated lahars on the northern flank, a mixture of mud and hot water from the lake when an eruption occurs.
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These sediments descended through the channels of the volcano’s slopes and dragged sediments down the hill, according to the National Emergency Center (CNE).
“This month, the volcano has remained in constant eruption,” the CNE said, and warned the inhabitants of several localities near the volcano to stay away from the riverbeds, as they could transport materials and sediments from the volcano.
The activity registered by the Rincón de la Vieja volcano is the most energetic of the month, said Müller, but it is not the highest of the year.
The volcanologist added that monitoring parameters warn that there is probably a small intrusion of magma and volcanic ridges below the crater.
The Rincón de la Vieja volcano is a 1,895-meter high massif located in the Central mountain range of Costa Rica, which runs through the country’s center from north to south.