Evolution and dynamics of the open-vent eruption at Arenal volcano (Costa Rica, 1968-2010): what we learned and perspectives - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Bulletin of Volcanology Year : 2022

Evolution and dynamics of the open-vent eruption at Arenal volcano (Costa Rica, 1968-2010): what we learned and perspectives

Abstract

On 29 July 1968, there was a violent reactivation of Arenal volcano. The resulting westward-directed lateral blast eruption left two villages destroyed and 78 people dead. The activity continued as a long-lasting, open-vent eruption that evolved into seven recognisable phases reflecting changes in magma supply, explosive activity and cone evolution, and ended in October 2010. Here, we review this activity, the geophysical approaches applied to understanding it and the open questions resulting from these insights. The eruptive dynamics were characterised by almost constant lava effusion, degassing, strombolian and vulcanian explosions and infrequent pyroclastic density currents. In this study, the total rock dense equivalent volume of lava and tephra erupted is calculated at 757 ± 77 Mm3, while the volume of the lava flow field is 527 ± 58 Mm3. Typical seismic activity included harmonic and spasmodic tremors, long-period events and explosion signals with frequent audible "booms". The decline of the eruptive activity started in 2000, with a decrease in the number and size of explosive events, a shift from long to short lava flows along with the collapse of lava flow fronts and the subsequent formation of downward-rolling lava block aprons, the frequent growth of dome-like structures on the summit and a gradual decrease in seismic energy. Multiple geological and geophysical studies during this 42-year-long period of open-vent activity at Arenal resulted in many advances in understanding the dynamics of andesitic blocky lava flows, the origin and diversity of pyroclastic density currents and seismic sources, as well as the role of site effects and rough topography in modifying the seismic wavefield. The acoustic measurements presented here include two types of events: typical explosions and small pressure transients. Features of the latter type are not usually observed at volcanoes with intermediate to evolved magma composition. Explosions have different waveforms and larger gas volumes than pressure transients, both types being associated with active and passive degassing, respectively. This body of data, results and knowledge can inform on the type of activity, and associated geophysical signals, of open-vent systems that are active for decades.
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insu-03748519 , version 1 (10-08-2022)

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Mauricio M. Mora, Philippe Lesage, Waldo Taylor-Castillo, Sylvie Vergniolle, Loïc Fourel, et al.. Evolution and dynamics of the open-vent eruption at Arenal volcano (Costa Rica, 1968-2010): what we learned and perspectives. Bulletin of Volcanology, 2022, 84, ⟨10.1007/s00445-022-01570-8⟩. ⟨insu-03748519⟩
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