COSTA RICA NEWS – Rincon de la Vieja Volcano gave a brief but spectacular demonstration of its power Wednesday night but it lasted barely three minutes. No lava showed but the explosion of gases set off earthquake tremor sensors of the National University (UNA) located five kilometers south of the crater.

The Rincón de la Vieja is an active andesitic complex volcano in north-western Costa Rica, about 25 km from Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste.
The Rincón de la Vieja is an active andesitic complex volcano in north-western Costa Rica, about 25 km from Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste. Click on image to enlarge.

As explained by Universidad Nacional (UNA) volcanologist Javier Pacheco, water has gathered in the crater during the rainy season and some of the water seeped underground into fissures. The water made contact with magma or heated gases, causing a brief explosion with plumes of steam.

The coefficient of expansion of water turning into steam has long fascinated engineers. In fact, not only steam engines used this motive power — fighter aircraft piston engines used water injection in the cylinders late in World War II, sometimes mixed with methane.

The boost gave the U.S. Navy’s F-6-F Grumman Hellcat fighter a “kick in the pants” when extra power or speed was needed. Also the Boeing 747 jetliner is able to climb at an incredible angle because more water than fuel is injected into the turbine on takeoff.

Although technically an eruption, the explosion of escaping gas and steam is of little danger, although it will throw rocks and sediment, usually not leaving the crater. The last time Rincon de la Vieja erupted in earnest was from September 2011 to January 2012.

The Guanacaste province volcano’s slopes contain this country’s first geothermal electricity generators.

Article by iNews.co.cr, repostes with permission


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