Photo La Nacion, Mayela Lopez

(QCOSTARICA) Airport operations at the San Jose international airport were suspended for Monday (Sept. 19) afternoon following the a major eruption of the Turrialba volcano sending a thing cloud of ash into the sky.

The temporary closure was lifted for 30 minutes, but authorities decided to close again at around 4:30pm for safety reasons because the volcanic ash could cause problems for planes and the safety of passengers and flight crew, Civil Aviation authorities explained in a statement.

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Ennio Cubillo, Director General of Civil Aviation, said that given the wind conditions, volcanic particles fell again in Alajuela, some 18 kilometres west of San Jose. The volcano is about 35 kilometres from the capital.

“The particles are not only in the airspace but also on the surfaces of taxiing and takeoff,” explained the chief of Civil Aviation.

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The closure is in effect until 6:00am Tuesday morning.

The Turrialba volcano had four eruptions on Monday, one at 2:53am, another more intense at 11:30am, one at 2:40pm and the last at 4:06pm.

On each occasion there was expulsion of ash, gases and incandescent rocks, the latter reached 500 meters above the active crater of the colossus in the activity recorded during the morning.

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In addition, the column of volcanic material before noon reached 4,000 metres (4 kilometres or 2.5 miles) high, explained Javier Pacheco, of the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI).

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