Arenal Volcano: Asleep or Awake? Insights from Ovsicori - Expat Community

Arenal Volcano: Asleep or Awake? Insights from Ovsicori

Nov 10, 2023 | Costa Rica, News & Articles | 0 comments

The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica has been in a state of calm for over a decade, prompting questions and uncertainties among those monitoring the country’s volcanic activity. In response to this, the Observatory of Volcanology and Seismology of Costa Rica (Ovsicori) released an updated report at the end of October, providing insights into the current status of this iconic volcanic massif.


According to the report, the seismographs installed on the volcano do not record significant seismic activity. While vapors, mainly water vapor and traces of sulfur dioxide (SO2), are commonly observed emanating from the active crater, they are attributed to the interaction between water and the remaining hot material inside the volcanic edifice.


Ovsicori clarified that the Arenal Volcano has been geologically active but dormant since the end of 2010. The emissions from the summit fumaroles consist mainly of water vapor and minimal amounts of gases like SO2. Measurements conducted in September 2022 indicated a low concentration of SO2 in the fumaroles.


Despite the normal release of vapors, the volcano is not currently included in daily volcano reports unless there are extraordinary events like collapses. The Ovsicori analysis suggests that the seismic activity recorded in the Arenal since 2010 is tectonic rather than volcanic in nature.


Ovsicori emphasized that the Arenal Volcano is continuously monitored to detect any potential changes, as a sudden reactivation would be a slow process. The report also highlighted the lengthy cooling process of the volcano’s internal hot material, which could take hundreds of years.


In conclusion, the report provides valuable information about the current state of the Arenal Volcano, dispelling concerns about sudden reactivation and highlighting the importance of ongoing monitoring for any signs of change in volcanic activity.




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