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Why is Costa Rica obsessed with volcanoes like Turrialba?

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 why this Caribbean country can’t shed the nightmare of the excess of volcanoes.

(Soundbite) Gino Gonzalez, Volcanologist at State University of Costa Rica
“In Costa Rica, we have many volcanoes, because we are in a subduction zone, namely a plate called the Cocos Plate. It is an oceanic plate moving under a continental plate, which is called the Caribbean Plate.”

The Caribbean Plate is a mostly oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the north coast of South America.

(Soundbite) Gino Gonzalez, Volcanologist at State University of Costa Rica
“The movements under the depth of the subduction zone cause water to enter the plate. Within the earth there is something called the mantle (which then takes shape). Water (entrance) makes this mantle rising to, in this case, the Caribbean Plate, then this generates magma.”

Human can’t control whatever happens under the plate, so that tragedy ensues.

(Soundbite) Gino Gonzalez, Volcanologist at State University of Costa Rica
“This magma ascends and gets fractured. Then, these fractures may reach the surface. When the magma comes to the surface, then we see so many volcanoes erupting in Costa Rica.”

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