Living in Costa Rica is like being in a construction site. There seem to be workmen hammering away all day long in the basement.
But there is much to be done. The isthmus on which Costa Rica sits is very new, geologically speaking. Scientists argue just when the isthmus closed the waterway between North and South America. Some say 15 million, and others say just 3 million.
Still, either date is very recent in geology where the estimates can be in the hundreds of million.
Consequently the work is not done. Hundreds of earthquakes take place each month, although only a small percentage are felt by humans. The Cocos tectonic plate in the Pacific continually is forcing its way under the Caribbean tectonic plate on which the country rides.
The interaction between the plates and other adjacent ones creates the central volcanic ridge that is the spine of Costa Rica.
The Cocos plate made its most recent statement at 8:08 a.m. Thursday with a 5.3 quake off northern Costa Rica in the Pacific. Scientists estimated the epicenter at 95 kilometers west of Santa Elena de Santa Cruz and 111.4 kilometers northwest of Tamarindo.
The quake was felt along the northern Pacific coast, according to the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica.
Scientists suspect that the water pushed through the area where the plates make contact is responsible for some of the inland volcanic activity. And Costa Rica certainly is having plenty of that. The Volcán Turrialba east of the Central Valley in Cartago erupted again Thursday at 3:13 p.m.
Scientists at the Red Sismológica Nacional said they recorded a strong tremor associated with the eruption that lasted 50 minutes. The tremor comes from gas and ash forcing their way through the volcano vents. The volcano has been an annoyance because the ash sometimes lands at Juan Santamaría airport and causes administrators there to close the runways.
Things could be worse. Under much of the Central Valley are thick layers of ancient material expelled from the volcanos to the west.