Emissions from Volcán Arenal reported to be lowest in years

Emissions from Arenal volcano have reached their lowest points in years. The latest “State of the Volcanoes Study” by the Observatorio Vulcanólogico y Sismológico de Costa Rica said that the output from the volcano has been less than the one-ton-per-day minimum required for measurement.

The observatory’s study added that any material coming from Arenal’s crater is decreasingly acidic. This trend coincides with the decrease in eruptions and seismic activity, said the Universidad Nacional agency.

Carlos Ramírez, a volcanologist at Universidad de Costa Rica, insisted that this pattern is a natural phenomenon. He said Arenal remains under the same classification of active, and that the country’s other volcanoes are experiencing a similar cycle.

“Rincón de Vieja was last active in 1996 and now it’s not as active as it was in those years,” Ramírez said. “Poás was active in the early 1990s for 10 to 15 years and now it’s giving out very light emissions.”

He agreed with the volcano observatory’s study that said Arenal has not seen as much lava flow or activity in general over the last three to four years.

The Red Sismológica Nacional where Ramírez works lists Arenal’s last major eruption as happening in 2010 when it emitted a pyroclastic flow. Now the network at Universidad de Costa Rica considers the volcano under a state of rest as recently the volcano has only been giving off gaseous outputs.

Arenal’s present period of activity began in 1968 after centuries of dormancy and has been one of the top 100 most active volcanoes in the world in the past 40 years, according to the Red Sismológica.

Arenal awoke that year with a bang, according to the volcano observatory, as it’s explosion damaged much of the rainforest blanketing its base and killed about 90 people. The observatory has been tracking volcanic and seismic activity in Costa Rica since 1984.

By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff


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