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Thursday Throwdown: Turrialba, Mayon and the latest USGS/GVP Weekly Report

The evacuation zone around Costa Rica’s Turrialba is extended, Mayon may be quieter, but the economic damage might have been done and we try to play catch up with the latest USGS/GVP Volcano Report.

The steam plume from Turrialba on December 26, 2009. Image by Eruptions reader Sahrye Cohen.


Costa Rican officials extended the evacuation zone around Turrialba from 3 to 6 km, raising the alert status at the volcano to Yellow. Vanessa Rosales of the National Emergency Commission described the seismicity as “intense but low,” but says the country is prepared to deal with the emergency. As always, the news chooses oddly what is the “news” of an event, and many article on Turrialba focus on Costa Rica’s coffee – yes, it is safe, so far. A news report from the Tico Times quotes Raul Mora of the University of Costa Rica as saying that lava isn’t likely from Turrialba – I’m guessing he was trying to say it will be explosive – but the article takes it as a comfort that this won’t be like Hawai`i. It seems the steam plume from Turrialba was prominent in the weeks before this week’s ash explosion. Eruptions reader Sahrye Cohen sent a picture of Turrialba taken on 12/26 (above) showing the steam plume coming from the volcano.


Mayon seems to be following the tried-and-true pattern of up-and-down for signs of an eruption (is this surprising? Not in the least.) Activity spiked at the volcano in the last day – it appears that the seismicity has increased again, but PHIVOLCS is keeping the alert status at “3” (down from “4”.) The steam plume from the volcano has caused alarm in the Albay region, but likely, even if the volcano does not erupt again, the plume will remain. However, even the “small” eruption of Mayon can have a significant effect on the local economy, with fears that this activity at Mayon will stop people from investing in project at Lezpagi City.

Finally, we have a new USGS/GVP Weekly Volcano Report. We’ve been hearing a lot about Mayon, Turrialba, Nyamuragira and Galeras, but the last week also saw continued eruptions at Piton de la Fournaise, Indonesia’s Rinjani, Ecuador’s Tungurahua and pyroclastic flows at Soufriere Hills. A lot to keep track of if you’re scoring at home.


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