On Saturday afternoon, geologists at the Observatory on Volcanology and Seismology at the National University of Costa Rica (Spanish acronym: OVSICORI) reported a new eruption at the Turrialba Volcano, the most active colossus in our country.
The volcanic event took place about ten minutes before 2:00 pm during a warm, yet extremely windy, afternoon. The seismographic sensors of the OVSICORI began stirring after 1:50 pm, at which time the scientists on duty activated their crater cameras to capture the eruption.
In the beginning, the eruption was mostly a slow emanation of volcanic ash and noxious gases. About ten minutes into the natural event, a more powerful ejection occurred and a solid plume formed about 500 meters into the air.
Thanks to the crisp weather conditions and the clear-blue afternoon skies, the eruption on the western crater was visible from the summit of the nearby Irazu volcano.
Chemistry experts at the OVSICORI combined their observations with data from the Institute of Meteorology to provide a forecast of where the ash clouds were headed yesterday. To this effect, they used the AERMOD atmospheric dispersion modeling system to create a forecast that indicated a northwesterly direction high over Guapiles and passing over most of the Heredia province on municipal elections day. Some ash fell on the vegetation and crops of the massive Finca La Picada farm near the volcano. Elsewhere, a strong smell of sulfur was detected by neighbors in Concepcion de Heredia.
As previously reported by The Costa Rica Star, past activity from the Turrialba has disrupted daily life with school and airport closures as well as diminished farming operations; nonetheless, that does not seem to be the case at this time.
The National Committee on Emergencies has kept a yellow alert active through most of the Turrialba Volcano National Park to dissuade tourists and unauthorized personnel from coming close to the crater.