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We are now back in the lab analyzing the results. Please stay tuned!




  About the Volcanoes

Rincon de la Vieja
Laguna Poco Sol

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Volcano Q & A
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With your expedition what food do you have to eat and where do you sleep?

On this expedition we're lucky we can get up and down the volcano in a single day. Therefore, we stayed in local hotels and ate the local food (lots of nice tropical fruit). Sometimes, we have to sleep on the volcanoes (I've done this in Indonesia) and then I carry foods which are light - breads, biscuits, instant noodles, etc.

What insight do you expect to gain in the field during
the expedition? What hypothesizes are you collecting data to test?

We're looking at the effects of changes in the subduction parameter on the gas chemistry, as well as the mass balance of various volatile species along the strike of the Central American margins.See the tabs on the home-page.

I just want to say how brave you all are completing research on volcanoes so to better our understanding on how they operate and when they will next erupt. It is facinating watching you trecking across such beautiful terrain. In Australia we are lucky to not have any active volcanoes as far as I am aware. Keep up your interesting web page. Good luck. (Lyn Best, Australia)

Thanks for your support.

Today (6/1) you described your walk through the Irazu volcano, and mentioned what measures the local population has considered to fight the volcano in the past (atomic bomb, filling with water, drill a tunnel). Are there any means, if an eruption is expected, to fight it, or to guide the lava and other material? Would drilling a tunnel help to 'take the pressure away'? (Steef de Bruijn, The Netherlands)

The only measures of which I am aware involved building dams on Mount Etna, Sicily in an effort to block or divert lava flows. Mostly, it's a case of seeing the results of a volcanic eruption rather than trying to influence them.

In your life what was the largest erruption you studied? (Steven)

Kratatoa in Indonesia

Hi, my name is Krystal. Have you ever been close to a volcano when it is erupting? (Krystal M. Williams, age 11)

Well, we try to sample volcanoes when they are not erupting - its safer that way! However, I have been on the big island of Hawaii and have seen lave there although it was a fairly passive eruption with lava mainly contained within a lava lake.

How do you travel all around the volcano every day? (Daniela Avalos, West View Elementary School, San Diego, Calfornia)

We drive as much as possible then walk up the remainder. Interestingly, lots of travelling involves going downhill - once we reach the top then we might have to go down to go into the crater - as we did with Turrialba and Poas volcanoes during the first days of the expedition.

When do you explore in Costa Rica again? (Jeremy, Ohio)

We might try and go to Costa Rica in July of this year. However, the next locality on our itinerary is Guatemala.

Is getting near volcanoes really tough? (Kyle Rudolph, St. Joseph, Arkansas)

Sometimes! Some volcanoes have roads to the top so that's easy. For others, it might involve a long hike.

How do you find active volcanoes? (Mitch Mitchell, St. Joseph, Arkansas)

There are a number of excellent books out cataloguing active volcanoes of the world. Check out our Links page and go to the Global Volcanim Project to find out more about the world's active volcanoes.

Hello my name is Mariel, and I would like to ask the scientist a question; What is so interesting about doing this video on volcanos? Please write back to me! Thank You! (Mariel Silva, West View Elementary, San Diego, California)

So we might inspire kids like you to become interested in science.

Where is the closest volcano to San Diego, California? How long have you been studying volcanoes? What do you think was the best eruption of all time? (Michelle Valdez, West View, San Diego, California)

You don't have to travel far to get to see volcanic activity. Mammoth Mountain on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada has lots of geothermal activity (associated with long valley caldera). About 5 - hours drive south in Baja, Mexico, are volcanic craters (San Quintin). I've been studying volcanoes since 1983 when I visited Iceland and climbed my first volcano - Hekla, the highest volcano in that beautiful country.
There are lots of interesting eruptions through time. I'm interested in Krakatoa in Indonesia. This volcano erupted in 1883, causing widespread damage. It was well documented and it interesting scientifically. I visited the volcano in 1992.

Why were they sampling volcanoes if they were oceanographers? (Bryn Mawr, Maryland)

Volcanoes occur under water as well as on land. We study volcanoes where-ever they occur. Often we can learn about undersea volcanoes by looking at their on-land equivalents.

Has anyone ever survived volcano burns and has any of your team members suffered injuries? (Booker T., Racine, Wisconsin)

Yes - the most famous example being a prisioner in the gaol at St. Pierre on Martinque in the Caribbean. The eruption of 1902 from the nearby volcano of Mt. Pelee killed the whole population of the town except for the prisioner who was badly burned - but survived! I (David Hilton) had a little bit of lava (spatter) land on me at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. It burned - and hurt!

How many volcanoes, active or inactive, are there in Costa Rica? (Briana Wood, Las Vegas, Nevada)

Guillermo answers - 300 volcanic centers in total. These include active, dormant and extinct. From the last 11,000 years, there are about 11 volcanoes (at least) which have been active. From the first arrival of the Spaniards (500 years) there have been 5 active volcanoes - Rincon de la Vieja, Arenal, Poas, Irazu and Turrialba (all on our list!).

When did the last volcano erupt in Costa Rica because I am studying it for a report. (Greg)

Hi Greg,
Check out the Global Volcanism Program (the link is on our web-site) or go directly to the Central America section and scroll down to Costa Rica to search for the information you're after. http://www.volcano.si.edu/gvp/

I'm from West View Elementary school, and I'm was wondering if Costa Rica is built on islands or volcanoes? Thank you Ashley. (Ashley Camargo, West View Elementary, California)

Costa Rica has many volcanoes as well as sediments which were laid down in the oceans but were later uplifted by movements of the plates.


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January 2001
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