Saturday 28 May 2022

Rincon de la Vieja eruption generates rumbles and lahars

Ovsicori reported that the emanation lasted four minutes; frequent eruptions are expected

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QCOSTARICA – The Rincón de la Vieja eruption Sunday, at 1:08 pm, that lasted four minutes, rumbles that were heard by residents of places near the colossus; Shortly after, lahars came down various rivers, such as the Quebrada Azufrada.

Sediment descended through the Quebrada Azufrada as it passed through Buenos Aires, in the district of Aguas Claras. Photo: Courtesy of Mauricio González

Javier Pacheco from the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Ovsicori) – Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica, reported that due to cloudiness at the top of the volcano the height reached by the column is unknown. There were no damages, neither smell of sulfur nor fall of ash.

Mauricio González, a resident of Buenos Aires in the district of Aguas Claras in the canton of Upala, Alajuela, told La Nacion that a strong rumble was heard and, shortly after, lahars came down the rivers.

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The lahar is a hot or cold mixture of water and rock fragments that flows down the slopes of a volcano and typically enters a river valley.

According to Nicolás Meza, a resident of the center of Liberia, from the center of that city the plume that exceeded the cloudiness could be observed.

The Rincón de la Vieja volcano, the most active in the country, an andesitic complex volcano in north-western Costa Rica, about 23 km from Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste, is expected to continue with frequent eruptions, as revealed by the samples collected in the currents of material (lahars) that went down the rivers near the colossus on January 5 and were analyzed in laboratories.

Read more: Rincón de la Vieja volcano, the most active in Costa Rica, erupts again

Ovsicori volcanologist Geoffroy Avard indicated last Friday that they found 20% fresh material, similar to what was observed in eruptions in June last year; however, in the new samples there was more altered material from the hydrothermal system and that reveals how unstable the volcano is, which could have moderate eruptions at any time.

“There is magma that is moving from time to time towards the surface. It is just waiting for a new impulse from the depths to launch materials through the crater again,” said Avard.

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Rincón de la Vieja means “The Old Woman’s Corner”a reference to a local legend about princess Curabanda whose lover Mixcoac, chief of a neighboring enemy tribe, who was thrown into the crater by her father Curabande, when he learned about their affair. She went on living on the side of the volcano, giving birth to a son. To be with its father, she threw her son into the volcano, too. She continued to live on the volcano and became a recluse living on the mountain, and was credited with powers of healing.

The Rincón de la Vieja volcano stands 1,916 metres (6,286 ft) above sea level, and its summit is the highest point in Rincón de la Vieja National Park. The volcano has many fumaroles and hot springs on its slopes. It is formed by felsic lava.

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