Turrialba volcano neighbors spend four hours with experts

Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico/ Javier Pacheco Alvarado The flame is the result of spontaneous combustion as superheated gases from the volcano reach the oxygen in the air. The photo was made Jan. 18 about 5:30 p.m.

An active volcano can really bring together a community. That is what happened Friday when experts met with residents around the Volcán Turrialba.

The national emergency commission set up the meeting, which lasted four hours. The commission said that residents got a complete explanation of what was happening in the volcano. Still unanswered is how long this activity will continue. Residents were told a few days, a few months, perhaps a year.

The meeting was in the community of La Pastora which is on the skirt of the volcano. Experts from Sismológica Nacional of the Universidad de Costa Rica, the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico at the Universidad Nacional and the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias attended, as did María Elena Montoya, the Turrialba mayor, and other politicians.

One suggestion that seemed to find favor with those attending was the need to construct bunkers near the volcano summit so that tourists can take refuge if caught by a sudden eruption.

Residents also pushed for better roads, both for tourism and evacuation.

The Parque Nacional Volcán Turrialba continues to remain closed due to the recent activity, which included the creation of a new aperture in the third crater of the mountain. Officials said the park would remain closed until the safety of visitors could be assured.

The emergency commission said that the meeting addressed many rumors that have been in circulation about the volcano. The experts also visited the communities of La Picada and La Silva where they saw first-hand the effects of acid rain on the vegetation.

Several community leaders already have brought the various communities together to plan evacuation routes and also locations where refugees could be housed if the volcano increased its activity.

Emergency commission members reminded the residents that the volcano is being monitored continually and that any changes will be noticed immediately.

The crater that is showing activity is the one furthest to the west. Experts were on the mountain a week ago to witness a red flame shooting from the newly formed aperture in the crater. The observatory said that the flame is the result of spontaneous combustion when the gases from the volcano come in contact with oxygen in the air. The temperature was estimated at 700 C or about 1300 F. The gases are hydrogen, sulfurs among other emissions, the observatory said.

This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.