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Arenal activity continues, tourists dice with death 17 April 2009

Posted by admin in activity reports, Arenal, Costa Rica, natural hazards, volcano tourism.
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Seismicity at Arenal volcano in Costa Rica remains elevated, with continuing rock-fracture earthquakes caused by magma movement within the volcanic system (online seismograph displays for Arenal, along with other Costa Rican volcanoes, are available from the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica: Sismogramas en línea). Monitoring was stepped up at Arenal at the beginning of this month, and warnings were issued to tourists visiting the Arenal National Park over the Easter holiday.

It seems to have made no difference, however. The Costa Rican newspaper La Nación reports today that Costa Rican and foreign tourists ‘are entering dangerous areas in the vicinity of the crater of Arenal volcano, despite the presence of notices warning of the increased seismic activity that could cause avalanches’. Visitors have apparently been getting in via neighbouring private property to evade police and park ranger controls, or are being brought into the park by people masquerading as official guides in order to earn money, regardless of the risks. ‘Because [the tourists] are uninformed or unconcerned, they are wandering through the area of greatest danger. They are putting their lives on the line’, warns the head of the tourist police, José David Rojas.

Arenal and its surrounding park form a popular tourist attraction, but the volcano is not tame and has to be treated with respect. In August 2000 three people died on Arenal when they were engulfed by a pyroclastic flow: they were in an area identified as dangerous at the time.

News
Turistas invaden zonas de riesgo en volcán ArenalLa Nación, 17 April 2009

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Arenal – summary information for Arenal (1405-033)
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica – home page for Ovsicori

The Volcanism Blog