The Turrialba volcano Saturday morning, Photo: EFE/ JEFFRY ARGUEDAS Y OVSICORI
The Turrialba volcano Saturday morning, Photo: EFE/ JEFFRY ARGUEDAS Y OVSICORI

COSTA RICA NEWS — The Turrialba volcano on Saturday recorded a new and powerful explosion, ejecting gases, ash and rcoks over a metre in diameter, to more than a 400 metre distance from the crater.

Gino  González, volcanologist at the Red Sismológica Nacional(RSN) -National Seismological Network, said the material landed on the south side of the volcano.

The intense expulsion of ash residue has reached areas of Guacima de Alajuela (west of the international airport), Moravia, Goicoechea and Heredia and for the first time, reports are coming in from Guápiles, west of the colossus.

“The volcano is very active. The hole formed after the first explosion has grown; the largest part is 150 metres long by 100 metres wide. That gap has been disfigured because it is getting bigger. The walls of the volcano will continue collapsing because lot of explosions and great amounts of expelled gas, ash and rock. Small amounts of lava is staring to come out,” Gonzalez said.

According to the national weather service, the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (INM), they expect a significant increase in wind and rain for today and tomorrow: a change in wind direction to the west, towards the Central Valley, could result in more ash and the semll of gas.

The Turrialba began spewing gas and ash minutes before midnight Wednesday. By Thursday morning there were intense eruptions of ash and analysts detected particle of magma in the ash residue.

On Saturday the colossus had its largest eruption in almost 150 years, the eruption of 1866 that was a VEI 3 event that saw activity across multiple vents at the volcano. After that eruption, Turrialba was quiet until 2007.  Most of the past eruptions at Turrialba has been basalt to basaltic andesite, so a very large explosive eruption would be surprising.

he area around Turrialba is currently on a “Yellow” alert status. Evacuations of areas closest to the volcano has begun.

The Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG) – Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, reports some 2.000 cattle from dairy farms are protected: they have enough food and water, says Felupe Arguedas, director of regional operations at the MAG.

Arguedas explained that the producers have in the past been trained on basic measures for the care of their livestock, to protect them from ash and gases.

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