Mother Nature delivered another blow to the country Thursday when an eruption of the Turriabla volcano led to the closing of Juan Santamaría airport in Alajuela and the Tobias Bolaños runway in Pavas.
Both airports were in the direct line of ash being blown west from the volcano.
Six flights from the United States were diverted, and two flights from closer airports were canceled. They were flights from Mexico City and Managua, Nicaragua. Others were listed as delayed more than five to seven hours. Departures were shut down, too.
Officials have plans to open the airport early today after the ash is removed and if the volcano remains quiet. Workers were on the job early today.
This is the second time in two months that the volcano’s dusting of ash closed the airport. The ash makes the runways slippery and also can damage the aircraft engines.
Turrialba is not the only American volcano blowing its top. The most impressive is Calbuco in Chile which has generated a state of emergency there. The entire Pacific coast of both continents is part of the so-called Ring of Fire that is known for seismic and volcanic activity.
The eruption in Chile Wednesday generated a 15-kilometer plume of ash that shut down airports in that country and in adjacent Argentina.
The U.S. Geological Survey said that the plume from the 4:23 p.m. eruption headed nearly due west over the communities north of San José Centro and over the Nicoya peninsula. Locations near the volcano may have gotten as much as a half inch of ash, said the Survey.
The Red Sismológica Nacional said that seismic activity preceded the eruption by some eight hours.
Videos captured the eruption and show that strong winds captured the blast of ash and gas from Turrialba and swept it westward.