Poás sends up another column of ash to enhance its attraction to tourists

Just when the country’s tourism could use a little help, the Volcán Poás is clearing its throat.

The volcano issued a column of ash 400 meters high Tuesday, and emergency officials noted that the mountain has long been the subject of a low-level alert.

The national emergency commission said that the volcano has been showing this type of activity since March 2006. The latest activity began Sunday with ash being ejected from the lagoon in the crater. The volcano has one of the largest craters in the world, so no tourists on the rim were endangered.

Volcano scientists from both the Universidad de Costa Rica in San Pedro and Universidad Nacional in Heredia have been keeping an eye on the activity.

The material that was ejected upwards consisted of gas, water and mud, said the emergency commission, which is correctly called the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias. There was no lava, it added. The distance that the volcanic column rose is a bit more than 1,300 feet.

Signs are being posted at access points, including the one to the visitor overlook. These give suggested evacuation routes in the event the volcano becomes more active, said the commission.

Park guards are at the volcano 24 hours a day, and they can advise tourists if the need arises. The volcano still is open for visitors. Because of its location close to the Central Valley, Poás is one of the country’s most-visited tourism sites. It is a feature on most one-day tours. The volcano also is the only active one where visitors can look into the crater easily.

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