Arenal volcano is still cooking, flight by scientists confirms

Scientists overflew Volcán Arenal Saturday with sensors to detect the concentration of gases and the temperature.

Arenal has been in the news because the mountain kicked out plumes of mostly water vapor Sept. 8 and 9.  That was reported and photographed by Róger Rojas Morales of the Hotel Montaña del Fuego. The plume of vapor was seen from miles away.

The report on the flight came out Monday. The good news is that Arenal is not dead. The La Fortuna tourism industry depends a lot on the volcano, which has been the most active in Costa Rica. Fear that it has entered a stage of slumber troubles those in the area.

The scientists from the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica said that they flew over the volcano six times. They noted a ring of heat inside one of the main volcano craters. Presumably it was these heated areas, measured at 192 C or about 360 F, that turned rain water into steam.

They used an infrared camera and gas sensors beneath the aircraft to do the measurements.

The scientists said that there was no reason to predict that the volcano would behave much differently now than it has in the last three years. The researchers also flew over Volcán Poás.

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