What dangers does Volcano Turrialba pose for Costa Rica?

Intermittent eruptions, sometimes violent, in recent months have put Volcano Turrialba in focus.

Situated in Cartago Province, some 36 kilometers northeast of the capital city San Jose, Turrialba is ranked as the second largest volcano in the country.

A volcanologist who has studied Turrialba for years tells Xinhua it poses multiple dangers to this Caribbean country, some of them extremely hard to cope with.

(Soundbite) Gino Gonzalez, Volcanologist at State University of Costa Rica
“The Turrialba Volcano actually delivers at least four or five dangers. First of all is coarse material, or large rocks ejected by the volcano. We call that material pump or blocks. The rocks sometimes measure 64 millimeters in diameter or even greater. They can reach a radius of influence of about three kilometers in maximum.”

The second danger is grain-sized pili nut, which measures between two to 64 millimeters in diameter and gets hurled as far as five kilometers away.

The third danger is ash, which runs hundreds of kilometers away, falling into basins and generating mudflows.

(Soundbite) Gino Gonzalez, Volcanologist at State University of Costa Rica
“Another danger is volcanic gas, or sulfur dioxide, which is a bluish gas that people get suffocated with, (or at least) hoarse voices. Such gas can be usually felt when eruptions are more violent.”

Finally comes lava, which constitutes the major part of Turrialba’s beauty, but usually turns into ash and causes more danger for humanity.

(Soundbite) Gino Gonzalez, Volcanologist at State University of Costa Rica
“What happens to Turrialba is that the magma comes out in small amounts, like sachets. It is thus called bags of magma. (In all) its body can make a depth of about three or four kilometers. Small drops get accumulated to thick body, so to speak, when eruptions are bigger.”

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