Volcano remains calm on the exterior, but there is internal activity

The Turrialba volcano had not erupted since 9:07 p.m. Friday, as of 1 a.m. today.

That is typical of the volcano that has established a long routine of eruption and periods of calm.

The volcano experts warn, however, that the danger is not past. Experts at the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica say that the low emission of gas from the volcano suggest that there is some blockage inside the mountain. This will remain until the interior pressure of the volcano is high enough to remove it via another eruption, they said.

Volcán Turrialba did little damage in its week-long period of eruptions. And emergency officials were able to check their plans for a bigger event. Only four schools that are close to the volcano will remain closed today.

The chaos caused by the volcano was outside the emergency commission’s game plan. Thousands of travelers were stuck at Juan Santamaría airport when officials closed the runways Thursday afternoon due to ash that had cut visibility and could have been damaging to aircraft engines.

The airport did not reopen until Friday afternoon, and then operations were not at 100 percent. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo said it sent bilingual guides to the airport to help travelers, but there were many reports of unhappy travelers who were not getting accurate information.

The tourism institute said that some 16,000 persons entered and flew out of the airport Saturday and that the passenger load was 30 percent higher than normal.

The institute also said that some airlines sent bigger aircraft to carry more passengers. United Airlines operated 12 flights Saturday.

The airlines took no responsibility for housing or feeding stranded passengers.

Those working with the emergency commission know how bad an eruption can be. They may have been children when Volcán Arenal erupted July 29, 1968, but they have seen reports. That disaster buried at least a dozen square kilometers under rock and ash. The volcano destroyed three communities, killed 87 persons and countless livestock.

Boulders the size of Volkswagens were propelled hundreds of meters, and hundreds of acres of agricultural land were ruined by gas and ash.

The Red Sismológica Nacional said that although there have been no eruptions since Friday night at Turrialba, there have been swarms of low-level earthquakes under the mountain. These show that the mountain still is active.eruption031613

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