Today on March 12th, 2015, Turrialba Volcano in the Province of Cartago, Costa Rica, had one of the largest eruptions of ash from its fumarole in the last thirty years.
For much of the beginning of this century and a few years prior, Arenal Volcano in the Province of Alajuela was the most active volcano in Costa Rica, but that time has passed. Turrialba has now taken the thrown as the reigning producer of the most volcanic activity in Costa Rica and the Central America region, and it has eclipsed many of its earlier eruptions from 2014 with a large venting of volcanic material on March 12th, 2015.
Turrialba sits in the province of Cartago, and lies to the east of the tallest volcano in Costa Rica; Mount Irazu. In the last five years it has erupted more than ten times. The volcano remained inactive from about 1866 to 1996 when it began to show small signs of activity. Arenal stopped showing the constant signs of activity (lava constantly poured down its conical form) in 2010.
Volcanologists from the University of Costa Rica have been studying Turrialba from their observatory on Mount Irazu, and they recorded the most recent events which began the past weekend on March 9th and 10th until the bigger eruptions of today. Currently, the people of Turrialba canton and Alvarado canton are under a yellow alert due to the large amounts of volcanic ash now proliferating the air in their areas.
The name Turrialba may come from Spanish colonists, or it could be the combination of two words being Turris alba (white tower in English). The 3,340 meter high stratovolcano or composite volcano is conically shaped with layers of hardened lava forming the cone about its lava epicenter. This makes it a somewhat dangerous volcano in regards to the historically famous Krakatoa and Vesuvius, but Turrialba has not demonstrated the same level of destructive capability in all of its recorded history.
A viewing platform was built by students from Raleigh North Carolina in 2007, but it isn’t currently in use due to the recent activity of the volcano. Because of the elevation of Turrialba, both the Pacific and Caribbean can be seen from the viewing platform on clear days.