Feb. 12, 2019– Mary Greeley News – Poás Volcano erupted early Monday morning, prompting the closure of its national park.
According to the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), the eruption began at 1:50 a.m. Monday and sent a column of ash 200 meters above the crater.
Originally, Maria Martinza a volcanologist with OVSICORI-UNA wrote the glow from the center of the volcanos crater was from burning sulfur and not lava and although the fire was not from lava it meant the delivery system was high.
A Monday morning statement from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) said Poás Volcano National Park will be closed Monday while volcanologists assess the situation.
“Due to strong activity during the last 12 hours and the presence of incandescence in the crater of the Poás Volcano National Park, it will remain closed today,” the Facebook post read.
Winds have pushed gases and ash from the eruption to the volcano’s southwest, according to OVSICORI. The observatory advised people with asthma or other respiratory issues to take precautions, including staying indoors or wearing masks if necessary.
In a January press conference, the National Emergency Committee had warned of increased volcanic activity at Poás Volcano and said it wouldn’t hesitate to close the National Park if necessary.
Poás had reopened to the public in August 2018 after implementing additional security measures, including shelters, to protect the visiting public from a potential eruption.
The Poás Volcano, (Spanish: Volcán Poás), is an active 2,708-metre (8,885 ft) stratovolcano in central Costa Rica and is located within Poas Volcano National Park. It has erupted 40 times since 1828, including April 2017 when visitors and residents were evacuated. The volcano and surrounding park were closed for nearly 17 months, with a 2.5-kilometer safety perimeter established around the erupting crater.
On May 17, 1953, an eruption occurred that started a cycle that lasted until 1956. At least two people were reported missing.
Poás was near the epicenter of a 6.1-magnitude earthquake in January 2009 that killed at least forty people and affected Fraijanes, Vara Blanca, Cinchona (the most affected area), the capital San José, and the Central Valley region of Costa Rica.
Following a substantial blast on April 22, 2017 that sent incandescent rocks over a large area which damaged park buildings and infrastructure, Costa Rica President Luis Guillermo Solis toured the surrounding towns the following two days.
Business owners described the negative financial impacts the volcano park closure was causing, and Solis released a video in Spanish and English urging potential tourists to visit the nearby community shops and restaurants. He also promised emergency agencies would continue to make updated reports on the eruption.