Fluid geochemistry and seismic activityin the period 1998-2002 at Turrialba Volcano (Costa Rica)

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F. Tassi
O. Vaselli
V. Barboza
E. Fernandez
E. Duarte


Turrialba Volcano, located in Central-Southern Costa Rica, has been characterized, since the last period of eruptive activity in 1884-1886, by a weak and discontinuous fumarolic activity in the western area of its summit.
During the 1998-2002 period, fumaroles discharging from central and West craters were collected for chemical analyses of major and trace gas compounds, 13C/12C in CO2 and 18O/16O and D/H (in one fumarolic condensate), isotopic ratios. Geophysical measurements (seismic activity and ground deformation), monitored in the same period, were compared to geochemical data to define the status of the volcanic system. Chemical and isotopic characteristics of fumaroles of Turrialba Volcano seem to be related to interaction processes between a magmatic source and a shallower hydrothermal
aquifer. Since February 1997, seismicity at Turrialba Volcano gradually increased, while since August 2001 new fumaroles start to discharge from a new fracture system located in the area between central and West craters. Since September 2001, strong compositional changes of gas discharges have been recorded at central crater. These occurrences are possibly due to variations in the permeability of the conduit system feeding the fumaroles. Heat pulse
episodes from a magmatic source have possibly caused the increase of vapour pressure at depth and, consequently, favoured the uprising of the magmatic fluids toward the surface. The observed evolution of chemical and physical parameters suggests that to forecast a possible renewal of the volcanic activity in the near future a full program of both geochemical and geophysical surveillance must be provided at Turrialba Volcano.

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How to Cite
Tassi, F., Vaselli, O., Barboza, V., Fernandez, E. and Duarte, E. (2004) “Fluid geochemistry and seismic activityin the period 1998-2002 at Turrialba Volcano (Costa Rica)”, Annals of Geophysics, 47(4). doi: 10.4401/ag-3355.