Photo of the Turrialba volcano Friday by Blas Enrique Sánchez. Funcionario de la CNE
Photo of the Turrialba volcano Friday by Blas Enrique Sánchez, official at the CNE, the national emergency commission.

QCOSTARICA – The 7:21am Friday morning eruption of the Turrialba volcano, lasting six minutes, is the third most important of the eruptive cycle that began in 2014. Experts do not rule out more powerful eruptions.

On Friday, the volcano spewed out rocks, gas and ash some three kilometres above the crater. Experts believe future eruptions could hit up to five kilometres.

Central Valley population reacts to ashfall
Central Valley population reacts to the ashfall after Friday morning’s eruptions. Photo La Nacion Facebook page

Javier Pacheco, the Seismological and Volcanological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), explained that after the May 12 eruption, the internal passages of the colossus cleared, that now allows constant escape and unhindered magmatic gases and ashes.

The following is a time-lapse of the Turrialba volcano eruption Friday, May 20, 2016 by Novum Films

He added that in the latest eruptions, rocks fell about 800 metres from crater.

After the eruption yesterday, the fine ashfall was reported in places like Coronado, San Pedro, Heredia, Santa Ana, Escazú and as far as Palmares.

Despite all this activity, during a press conference of the National Emergency Commission (CNE), in Pavas, interim President (President Luis Guillermo Solis is on an away trip), Ana Helena Chacon, called for calm.

Chacon, however, asked residents near the Turrialba volcano that in the event of a major emergency, they should comply with evacuation orders.

Ivan Brenes, president of the CNE, said that both the Juan Santamaria (San Jose) airport in Alajuela, and Tobias Bolaños in Pavas, remained open.

Mauricio Mora, volcanologist of the National Seismological Network (RSN), explained that the magma chamber of the volcano, located about four kilometres deep, is connected with the surface by means of many fissures through which magma can rise.

Wearing masks in San Jose following the Friday morning Turrialba volcano eruption. Photo La Nacion Facebook page.
Wearing masks in San Jose following the Friday morning Turrialba volcano eruption. Photo La Nacion Facebook page.

He added that the level of magma rises each time a little more to the surface and that upon reaching the groundwater, it generates explosions and eruptions opening ducts, which would facilitate the release of material.

For the time being, the CNE and other technical and advisory bodies have taken the decision, for safety reasons, not to allow staff to reach the top of the volcano.

San Jose Firday afternoon. Photos from La Nacion Facebook page.

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