Volcano La Fortuna in Costa Rica

Volcanos in Costa Rica

At 2 volcanos in Costa Rica there have been a total of 6 siginificant eruptions over the past 2000 years. Over 100 people were killed. The worst volcanic eruption in terms of deaths, destroyed houses and financial damages happened on 12/10/1963 at the volcano "Irazu". Only here 40 people died.

All 8 volcanos in Costa Rica are still considered as active.

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Significant volcanic eruptions in Costa Rica over the past 2000 years

The following list shows all volcanoes of the last 2000 years with significant damage. The column "VEI" stands for the volcano explosivity index, which represents the strength of the eruption from a geological point of view. This takes into account the height and volume of the rocks ejected. The scale ranges from 0-8, with the severity of the outbreak increasing tenfold with each value. For example, a VEI of 1 means that the volcano throws lava and rock masses of 100,000 to 1 million cubic metres up to 1 kilometre high. From VEI 8 a volcano is considered a super volcano. Here, more than 1000 cubic kilometers of tephra are thrown to altitudes of more than 25 kilometers.

The highest explosivity index in Costa Rica was reached in the review period at VEI 3 in 2000. The volcano Arenal threw tephramasses of at least 10 million cubic meters over 3 kilometers high. Volcanoes of this size can theoretically erupt at this intensity every year.

EruptionVolcanoVEIDeathsTotal damage
08/23/2000Arenal32
07/06/1988Arenal31
06/17/1975Arenal32
07/29/1968Arenal380
12/10/1963Irazu340
03/17/1963Irazu315


All volcanos in Costa Rica

VolcanoElevationStatusLast eruption
Turrialba3335 mActive 
Ricon de la Vieja1806 mActive 
Poas2704 mActive 
Orosi1440 mActive 
Miravalles2028 mActive 
Irazu3432 mActive12/10/1963
Barva2894 mActive 
Arenal1552 mActive08/23/2000



These statistics are based on datas from the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP), and the Significant Volcanic Eruptions Database of the National Geophysical Data Center (NOAA) / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS) doi:10.7289/V5JW8BSH. Several data have been summarized and translated. The photo above is from Pixabay.com (CC0).