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Book Chapter

The eruptive history of Turrialba volcano, Costa Rica, and potential hazards from future eruptions

By
Mark Reagan
Mark Reagan
1
Department of Geoscience, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA
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Eliecer Duarte
Eliecer Duarte
2
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI), Universidad Nacional, Apdo. 2346-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica
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Gerardo J. Soto
Gerardo J. Soto
3
Apdo. 360-2350, San Francisco 2 Ríos, Costa Rica
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Erick Fernández
Erick Fernández
4
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI), Universidad Nacional, Apdo. 2346-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica
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Published:
January 01, 2006

Turrialba volcano's high summit elevation and steep slopes, its position upwind of the Central Valley, and its record of explosive eruptions all suggest that it poses a significant threat to Costa Rican population and economy. To better understand the nature and significance of this threat, the geology, stratigraphy, and recent eruptive history of Turrialba were investigated. Outcrops of lava and pyroclastic units from at least 20 eruptions of basalt to dacite are recorded in Turrialba's summit area. The majority of these eruptions preceded a major erosional period that may have involved glaciation and that produced a prominent northeast-facing valley at Turrialba. This period also was apparently marked by a dearth of volcanism. The post-erosional period began with eruptions of massive andesite to dacite lava flows ca. 9300 yr B.P. Five of the six most recent eruptions, including the eruption of 1864–1866 A.D., were small volume (<0.03 km3) phreatic and phreatomagmatic explosive eruptions involving basalt and basaltic andesite. The exception was a Plinian eruption of silicic andesite at ca. 1970 yr B.P. with a volume of ∼0.2 km3. Turrialba's next eruption will likely be similar to the recent eruptions of basaltic to basaltic andesitic composition, although a larger volume and more destructive eruption of silicic andesite to dacite also is possible.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Volcanic Hazards in Central America

William I. Rose
William I. Rose
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Gregg J.S. Bluth
Gregg J.S. Bluth
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Michael J. Carr
Michael J. Carr
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John W. Ewert
John W. Ewert
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Lina C. Patino
Lina C. Patino
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James W. Vallance
James W. Vallance
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Geological Society of America
Volume
412
ISBN print:
9780813724126
Publication date:
January 01, 2006

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