A Geological and Pictorial Tour

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Rincon de la Vieja, a composite stratovolcano in northwestern Costa Rica, forms a NW-trending ridge consisting of several eruptive centers that have coalesced through time. Elevations of the individual cones range from 1670 to 1920 meters and nine craters are readily identified by their topographic expression. Numerous phreatic eruptions have occurred since 1851 (as recently as November, 1995), all from the Active Crater. The last major eruption involving juvenile magma occurred at ~3,500 ybp, producing the Rio Blanco tephra deposit. Ash, pumice, and lithics ejected during this eruption were deposited in a highly asymmetrical dispersal pattern WSW of the Active Crater, indicating strong easterly prevailing tradewinds at the time of the eruption. Historical descriptions of the summit crater morphology suggest that conditions there have changed little over the past century.

This web site is based on field work conducted at Rincon de la Vieja by Kirt Kempter, and two Field Assistants, Shawn Benner and Austin (el labrador de oro). A publication of this research, entitled "Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Northwestern Costa Rica: Geology of the SW Flank and Hazards Implications" is published in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. Shawn Benner and Stan Williams are co-authors of this manuscript, for which references are included in this web site.

A few volcano links you may find interesting: