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Landslide Volcanic Eruptions in Costa Rica

by Lux Joseph 23. March 2015

Costa Rica is normally a hot spot for tourism, with it’s tropical weather and lovely tourist destinations, but if you were thinking of going there on vacation any time soon, you might want to travel with caution. Approximately 43 miles east of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is a slumbering giant, the volcano Turrialba. Or at least it was sleeping. Recently, on Thursday, March 12th, this massive volcano awoke with an eruption of smoke and ash that spewed up to a height of one kilometer (around 3,280 ft) into the air from the top of the volcano.

This latest eruption has been Turrialba’s largest in two decades, with the last eruption having been in 2010. Four explosions were heard as the volcano spit out large plumes of ash. Those living close to the volcano were evacuated, as the main roads and four schools in close proximity where closed. The ash traveled out, reaching as far as San Jose itself, including the Tobias Bolanos airport. The ash made the runways slick and even interfered with visibility, leading to the temporary closing of the airport and over 100 delayed flights. Even the President of Costa Rica, Luis G. Solis was forced to cancel his diplomatic trip to Europe. Thankfully, the airport crew were able to clear out most of the ash next day, allowing the airport to reopen.

Although things seemed to calm down in the following days, the last explosion happening roughly around 8:00pm on March 13th, experts from the the National Seismological Network and the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica continue to monitor the surrounding area, observing the seismic activity still occurring in the volcano. From their observations they’ve found that seismic activity is still occurring and while it seems that Turrialba may go back into a dormant state, they’re keeping on guard for any sudden changes. Costa Rica is currently in Yellow alert, ready to respond if needed, and tourist are restricted from entering the national park.

CME recently moved two patients out of San Jose, Costa Rica shortly after the explosion on the 13th. In situations like these, our safety and operations team do everything possible to ensure the safety of not only our patients, but our escorts is number one priority. When traveling via commercial airline or any aircraft, there is no telling what mother nature will present to us, but we do our best to be proactice and anticipate situations to the best of our ability.


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