Where:El Salvador, Central America
Magnitude:7.7-7.9 (felt as ~4.0 in San
Time: 11:36am Local
Form more information see the BBC
Today's sampling site was the newly opened Borinquen
Hotel, which provided us with an opportunity to observe a relatively
new industry emerging in Costa Rica, unofficially known as "geotourism."
The health benefits of hot springs have been touted for thousands
of years, and spa resorts date back at least to ancient Rome and
feudal Japan, if not much earlier.
In Costa Rica, entrepreneurs are now combining an already thriving
ecotourism industry with luxury
health spas, providing visitors with a unique combination
of adventure and relaxation. Today's program, however, was interrupted
as we experienced first hand the consequences of the subduction
process - an earthquake. Dave reports:
When collecting gases at the Borinquen Hotel spa on the flank of
Rincon de la Vieja volcano today, the ground started rolling back
and forth with a seemingly low frequency of about a second. The
shaking continued for about 40 seconds before tapering away. I was
standing on a concrete platform which seemed to attenuate the motion.
When the ground stopped moving the entire party stood silent for
a second and I instinctively looked at my watch. The event happened
at 11:36 am local time.
Within the hour Guillermo had contacted the ICE
observatory and reported that a 7.9 earthquake
hit El Salvador at the above-noted time. The event took
place some 800 km (500 miles) from Rincon. Initial reports are of
some 40 deaths - a figure which is expected to rise. The mood in
our party is somber. We offer our condolences to families and friends
of the victims.
Today's sample at Rincon was the last of our Volcano Expedition.
During the past
10 days, we have collected 33 geothermal gas and water samples
as well as 14 rock
samples (lavas, ashes, and pyroclastic flows). We sampled
all five of the presently active volcanoes of Costa Rica - Turrialba,
Irazu, Poas, Arenal and Rincon de la Vieja. Due to the guidance
of our local expert, Guillermo, and the logistical support of his
colleague, Chico, this has been an exceptionally successful collecting
trip. The entire party is tired and looking forward to returning
to the capital, San Jose, tomorrow. We have many memories of the
trip (which we'll share with you tomorrow). It's going to be a fascinating
time back in the laboratory.