New rumblings at two Costa Rican volcanoes
Rumors of ash falls seem to be everywhere in Costa Rica, but so far, none have panned out. However, Arenal is rumbling enough to prompt evacuations of tourists from the national park surrounding the volcano.
I write the Eruptions blog on Big Think. I've been mesmerized with volcanoes (and geology) all my life. It helps that part of my family comes from the shadow of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, where I could see first hand the deadly effects of volcanic eruptions. Since then, I've taken a bit of a winding path to become a volcanologist. I started as a history major at Williams College, almost went into radio, but ended up migrating to geology, including an undergraduate thesis on Vinalhaven Island, Maine. I followed this up by changing coast to get my Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Then I ran a MC-ICP-MS lab at University of Washington for a spell (and wrote for an indie rock website). I spent three years as a postdoctoral scholar at University of California - Davis studying the inner workings of magmatic systems. I am now an assistant professor at Denison University and have projects in New Zealand, Chile and Oregon.
I am fascinated by volcanoes, their eruptions and how those eruptions interact with the people who live around the volcanoes. I started this blog after getting frustrated with the news reports of volcanic eruptions. Most of them get the information wrong and/or are just sensationalistic. I will try to summarize eruptions as they occur, translate some of the volcanic processes that are happening and comment on the reports themselves.
And no matter what people tell you, I definitely do not have a cat named Tephra. (OK, I do).
You can find out more about my research by visiting my website. If you have any comments, questions or information, feel free to contact me at eruptionsblog at gmail dot com.
\nArenal in Costa Rica, erupting in July 2007. Image courtesy of Arenal.net.
Arenal in Costa Rica is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. It is almost one of the most picturesque (see above) and, dare I say, touristy, volcanoes in the world. However, even volcanoes that seem "benign" like Arenal require special precautions.\n\n
Yesterday Arenal has two small eruptions that were accompanied by unusual tremors, (in spanish) according to Javier Pacheco of the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI). The tremor started at 7 AM and continued until 4:30 PM, suggesting some movement of fluid or magma in the volcanic system under Arenal. These events, along with increased degassing noticed last week, prompted rangers at the national park surrounding Arenal to evacuate visitors from the park, however, at this time there is no indication at people living near the volcano will need to leave. The volcano currently sits at Alert Level 3 (of 4).\n\n
I had also reported a few weeks ago that Turrialba had been showing signs of new activity. Eliecer Duarte of OVSICORI had this to say on June 13th:\n\n
Augmented fumarolic activity has been observed 360 degrees around the\nexternal upper summit walls of the active west crater. Such degassing has been acompanied, over these recent 2 months, by widening of radial cracks (1.5 cms average), tall vertical gas and vapor plumes (1-2 kms tall), and one sustained discrete seismic swar (amounting hundreds of quakes a day). Cracks on the summit showed 94ºC while fumarolic vents, in the lower parts of the crater, show points with temperatures between 120 and 160ºC. During April-May deep burning of dairy pastures and forests reached as far as 3.5km (towards NW and W). Widespread corrosion increases as the rainy season progresses.\n\n
He interprets this new activity as a blockage in the crater bottom, thus promoting "degassing through upper walls". (You can read the whole report here, albeit the link is a PDF in spanish). However, there is no suggestion made that this might be leading to renewed magmatic (rather than hydrothermal) activity for Turrialba. In fact, reports of an ash eruption from Turrialba yesterday have been ruled as false (in spanish) according to Costa Rican officials (the same can be said for rumors of ash from Irazu [in spanish] as well). However, it definitely seems like a volcano to keep a close watch on for the next few months.
New research offers a tip for politicians who don’t want to be seen as corrupt: don’t get a big head.
These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.
We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.