Don’t believe the hype, officials say

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Wednesday morning announcement from the national emergency committee could be boiled down to a few words: don’t believe the hype.

The technical advisory committee of volcanology and seismology and the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias were apparently responding to unnamed reports that the Arenal volcano showed an increase in seismic and volcanic activity.

“[We] make a vehement call to the population and media, so that prior to the disclosure of information on alleged changes or trends regarding the evolution of seismic and volcanic activity in Costa Rica, should be obtained from official sources related to these issues,” the emergency commission said.

Those official sources include: Red Sismológica Nacional and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica. The group explained that the instruments being used to measure these activities are highly sensitive pieces of equipment. They not only record tectonic or volcanic earthquakes but also any heavy rain, lightning, mudslides, avalanches or even nearby objects making noise.

The graphs recorded by instruments of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, after the commission consulted their experts and tools, were attributed to the heavy rains the area was experiencing in the past few days.

To further assuage people that the volcano was not experiencing any increase in activity, the government sent special technicians to the volcano and found no extraordinary evidence that there was any unusual activity in the past week to give cause for alarm.

“Therefore, the CAT de Vulcanología y Sismología considers it a right and duty to inform, as long as it is carried out with responsibility and without alarm to the population before any circumstance that could compromise the security of a region in condition of seismic and volcanic threats,” the group concludes in a statement.

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