Vol.19  No.0118
Friday Edition, January 18, 2019 Second news page
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Eruption of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano
caused the death of fish and caiman, say specialist

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Volcanological Observatory reported an eruption of the Rincon de La Vieja Volcano* that caused a mud flow into some rivers.

According to the specialists, at 1:30 a.m. Thursday, the eruption began and lasted two minutes. Due to poor visibility and bad weather, the height of the gases that were expelled by the volcano could not be recorded. Half an hour later, a second eruption was generated that caused the flow of material on the edges of the volcano and the flow reached the rivers.

This type of flow is called a lahar, which is a violent flow of pyroclastic material, rocky debris and water. The material flows from a volcano, typically along a river valley.

According to the  specialists of the Volcanos Without Borders  organization, "the people of the towns near the volcano, Gavilán and Buenos Aires of Upala, reported a grayish color in the rivers Pénjamo, Azul and Quebrada Azufrada and Burma."

These eruptive events are phreatomagmatic, that is to say, explosions occur because the magmatic gas interacts with the active crater acid lake, as well as occasionally, small amounts of magma rise and hit the lake, generating even more violent explosions.

"Additionally, when these explosions occur, part of the lake that is acidic (pH = 0) leaves the active crater and feeds the different streams, which causes a decrease in pH (makes them more acidic), increases both the turbidity due to the ejected ash, as an increase in its level and can increase the temperature of the rivers, since it is a hot lake. Hence the fact that there was a large amount of dead fish and that even these conditions affected the alligator," said the specialist.

According to the witness report, after the eruption and the sediment in the rivers, the people observed how the fish of the river began to float and that they even collected them in sacks.

The dead fish collected have gills burned, and the skin yellowed and partially burned, and a dead caiman was found on the river bank.

The specialists continued for several hours, collecting samples of sediment, water from the rivers and dead animals.

Rincon de La Vieja Volcano* has been in a stage of intense phreatic activity since 2011, with fluctuating episodes of eruptions and increased activity since the end of 2015.

Volcanos Without Borders organization courtesy photo

The dead fish collected have gills burned, and the skin yellowed and partially burned, and a dead caiman was found on the river bank.

On Wednesday the National Emergency Commission restricted access to three volcanos.

Due to the constant activity of the volcanos
Rincon de La Vieja Volcano* Turrialba in Cartago* and Poás in Alajuela*, the National Emergency Commission urged Tuesday that the public respect the access restrictions that have been implemented near the craters.

According to the park rangers, during the holidays, people put their lives and the lives of the rangers at risk by entering the sites near the volcanos which were in constant eruption.

Visitors go to the volcanos by unpermitted routes and in hours outside the daily schedule, the rangers said. Violators can be fined, they added.

Access to Poas and Rincon de la Vieja is being regulated. In order to enter the parks, visitors must buy tickets online at the National System of Conservation Areas page here: https://serviciosenlinea.sinac.go.cr/

Have you tried to buy tickets online? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to: news@amcostarica.com

*Click on the blue letters to reach the place in google maps.


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