In the Central American country of Costa Rica, a three-kilometre-high column of smoke rose on Thursday above the Rincón de la Vieja volcano – the civil protection warns the population.
San José – About 270 kilometers from Costa Rica's capital San José lies the 1,900-meter-high volcano Rincón de la Vieja, which is one of the most active in the Central American country. On Thursday afternoon, a three-kilometre-high cloud of smoke from steam, ash and gases rose – the national disaster authority is calling on the population to be cautious.
Volcanic eruption in Costa Rica: kilometre-high cloud of smoke over craters
The Rincón de la Vieja volcano is located in a national park in northwestern Costa Rica and has been showing increased activity since April after a calmer phase. "A few minutes ago, there was an eruption at the Rincón de la Vieja volcano with an altitude of 3000 meters, the cloud was made up of water vapor, gases and ash," warned the national civil protection authority CNE on Thursday afternoon around 14.30 local time (22.30 German time). The volcano has already erupted several times this month, it said. "In this latest eruption, material was ejected from the bottom of the main lake," informed the CNE, predicting that this will trigger hot mudflows, so-called lahars.
The situation is currently classified as alert level two out of four. The smoke cloud is a "phreatic" explosion in which there is an interaction between water and hot magma, volcanologist Cyrill Müller told local newspaper La Patilla. The water evaporates and increases its volume by a thousandfold within seconds, which leads to the explosion.
Hace pocos minutos se generó una erupción en el volcán Rincón de la Vieja con una altura de la pluma de vapor de agua, gases y cenizas de 3000 metros. 🌋 pic.twitter.com/EXiF4Ef78D
— CNE Costa Rica (@CNECostaRica) May 25, 2023
Civil protection authority warns population: "Volcano can erupt at any time"
The civil protection authority CNE warned the population to approach the volcano. Rivers in the vicinity should also be avoided, as the watercourses could transport material and sediments from the volcano. "We remind the population that a volcano can erupt at any time," the CNE continues. In the northern region of Upala, the situation is being closely monitored, as rainfall is imminent there, which could cause material from higher areas to the lowlands, it said.
Almost a third of Costa Rica's land area is protected. The country has several active as well as extinct volcanoes, such as the Turrialba, Volcán Poas and the Irazú. In total, there are about 120 volcanoes in the Central American country, only five of which are active. About 2,300 kilometers northwest of the Rincón de la Vieja, the Popocatépetl volcano in Mexico has been covering several villages with a layer of ash for several days. The volcano, located 85 kilometers from Mexico City, has been very active several times in the past. When a volcano erupts can be predicted relatively reliably.