On May 25, 2023, the Rincón de la Vieja volcano in northern Costa Rica erupted, according to the Costa Rica Volcanological and Seismological Observatory (OVSICORI) of the National University. The plume composed of water vapor and volcanic material reached a height of 3,000 meters above the level of the crater, making it a powerful phreatic eruption, generated by an interaction between hot magma and water that vaporizes and increases its volume, producing an explosion. Fortunately, it did not affect people or infrastructure.
The volcano is one of five active volcanoes in Costa Rica, located in the Guanacaste region, about 270 km northwest of San José. OVSICORI has raised the alert level to 2 of 4, implying a state of “significant” seismicity and small eruptions with “significant emission of acid gases.” According to Cyrill Müller, the volcano has been in constant eruption this month, generating some lahars on the northern flank, which are a mixture of mud and hot water that comes out of the lake during an eruption.
The National Emergency Center (CNE) informed the inhabitants of the various towns near the volcano to stay away from the channels that could transport materials and sediments from the volcano. Sediments descended through the channels of the slopes of the volcano and dragged sediments down the hill. The activity registered by the Rincón de la Vieja volcano is the “most energetic of the month,” said Müller, but it is not the greatest of the year.
In conclusion, the Rincón de la Vieja volcano erupted out powerfully on May 25, 2023, reaching a height of 3,000 meters above the level of the crater. It was a phreatic eruption that occurred because of hot magma and water interaction. Although people and infrastructure were not affected, OVSICORI has raised the alert level to 2 of 4 and provided guidelines for the inhabitants of various towns near the volcano.