Central Valley bracketed by plumes from nearby volcanoes

This photo is of Volcán Poás. It was taken at 5:35 p.m. Sunday from Vara Blanca de Sarapiqui. It is one of many donated to the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico. Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica/Joel Suire Robert

At two places overlooking the Central Valley, volcanoes are blowing their top.

Volcán Poás emitted plumes of gas estimated to be at least a kilometer into the air Sunday and Monday. The plumes were seen from Poás, Alajuela, Zarcero, Heredia, San Carlos, Desamparados and Zurquí, said the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica at University Nacional in Heredia.

The outlets in the volcano crater are emitting vapor about 450 to 575 degrees C, and the vapor is largely water and sulfur dioxide, said the Observatorio.

Poás is a major tourist destination and there was no indication that the plumes would jeopardize this activity.

At the east end of the valley, Volcán Turrialba also was putting out a column of vapor. The plume was seen from at least Heredia, San José, Cartago, Guápiles, as well as locations nearer the mountain.

Particles of fine silica from deposits of volcanic ash gave a rosy color when hit with the light of the sun, said the Observatorio. The plume also contained ash and sulfuric acid. The gas outlets at the crater of Turrialba are estimated to be emitting vapor about 800 degrees C.

Tuesday a park worker reported a light deposit of ash in   Pacayas y San Pablo de Oreamuno de Cartago, said the Observatorio. Two volcano experts went to the summit Tuesday between 2 and 3 p.m.  and reported that they saw a flow of gas stronger than normal.

Officials continue on alert at Turrialba, and farmers and stockmen near the volcano have pretty much abandoned those parts of their land damaged by acid rain. They also are prepared to make a haste exit if the mountain really acts up. The national park there is closed to visitors.

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