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Christmas Day eruption at Poás captured on video 6 January 2010

Posted by admin in Costa Rica, Poás.
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You may recall our report of a phreatomagmatic display that Poás volcano in Costa Rica put on to celebrate Christmas Day: well, you can now see a video of the event – ‘Central Georgia couple captures video of erupting volcano’ (also at YouTube).

There is also an interview with tourist Tom Wellman, who made the video. Strange remark 1: ‘this type of volcano doesn’t put out liquid lava. Instead it puts out a dry lava with steam’. Strange remark 2: ‘Tom says that this is the first time in the history of Costa Rica that anyone has recorded video of an erupting volcano’. Not really, try this.

Costa Rican newspaper La Nación has some nice still pictures of the Poás eruption, taken by Kristina Kremer.

UPDATE 11 February 2010. Tom Wellman has provided some clarification regarding his video: please see his comment below.

[Hat tip: Damon Hynes via Eruptions.]

The Volcanism Blog


1. Boris Behncke - 6 January 2010

Indeed, there’s probably a lot of older video footage of similar activity at Poás, maybe not available on YouTube … However, there are lots of photographs at the Global Volcanism Program entry for Poás, showing typical scenes even as far back as 1915:

Meanwhile, there’s some spectacular lava lake activity going on in Kilauea’s Halema’uma’u pit:

2. Thomas Wellman - 11 February 2010

For the record, Mr Behncke did not correctly what I actually said during the news interview. The video I took was featured on the Costa Rico channel 11 news and was said to be the first video of a Poas eruption. I was offered money for this video but I donated the use to Costa Rica and it is now featured on the Home Page of the Costa Rica National University OVSICORI http://www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr/# . If you know Spanish you can learn the actual facts about this being the only video take of a Poas eruption. I have emails from Costa Rico officials saying that this video is the first and they will use it to study Poas in eruption and used to teach Costa Rico students. Because I am a college educator, I am very proud the video will be used for this purpose. The Costa Rico guide that took us to the crater used the words “dry lava not molten lava” to describe the eruption and I used his same terminology to describe the rock ash and vapors that blew to the surface in this eruption. On the video you can see the dry hot non-molten lava fall back into the water in the crater and then the steam that blew back into the air making a toxic vapor cloud. I will be happy to post a copy of the Spanish or American news interviews for anyone who would like to see them.

3. admin - 11 February 2010

Thank you for making a clarification, Mr Wellman. I can’t speak for Boris but I am solely responsible for the content of the blog post itself and if I misunderstood or inadvertently misrepresented anything I apologize. I’ll link to your comment from the post to ensure that everyone who reads it is aware of what you have to say.

4. Thomas Wellman - 15 February 2010

Thank you. I just found out where the confusion came from. It was not your misquote. The WMAZ News written description posted on their web site of the TV interview did not accurately quote what I said.

5. JM Doire - 17 February 2010

I was there when the volcano erupted that day, and got nice pics. We were lucky it was a very nice sunny day and happened to be at the right place at the right time.


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