Rincon de la Vieja Volcano
Crater Lake at Rincon de la Vieja (Photo: )
LOCATION: Rincon de la Vieja Volcano
Northwest Costa Rica
A NATURAL SOURCE OF ENERGY
Rincon de la Vieja from
|Through progressive science and technology, Costa Rica has found a way to harness the geothermal energy of the Guanacaste Geothermal Province. In the early 1990's, a power plant was constructed near the south flank of Miravalles, the central volcano of the Guanacaste system. This 55 MW power plant is fueled by the energy of a 2400C thermal reservoir beneath Miravalles volcano. Studies have shown that similar geothermal features exist at Rincon de la Vieja (Giggenbach and Soto, 1992), and the possibility for geothermal exploitation may exist there as well.|
A NATURAL SOURCE OF DESTRUCTION?
The hydrothermal system at Rincon de la Vieja appears similar to those at many active stratovolcanos that host crater lakes. An acidic crater lake and several areas of thermal springs and boiling pools have become the surficial expressions of a hot magma body underlying the volcano.
Despite its similarities to other
systems, the interaction of the volcano's morphology with its hydrology
has produced a distinct hazard at Rincon. Except for the north flank,
all sides of the Active Crater are supported by stable volcanic ridges.
In contrast, the north flank of the Active Crater is extremely steep, with
"vertical to undercut internal crater walls and outer flank dips approaching
300" (Kempter &
Rowe, 19__). Thermal springs discharge from the north flank of the
Active Crater and show similar chemistry to the waters of the crater lake.
The chemical similarity between the crater lake and the springs at the
north flank point to seepage of crater lake waters through the volcanic
strata of the north flank and discharge at the springs. Hypotheses
exist that acid fluids migrating through the northern flank are currently
dissolving the rock and weakening the slope. Eventually, such dissolution
could lead to crater collapse and a deluge of crater lake waters down the
northern slope of Rincon de la Vieja (Kempter & Rowe, 19__).
BACK TO SOUTH AMERICA
BACK TO HOME
1. Title: Leakage of Active Crater Lake Brine through the North
Flank at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, northwest Costa Rica: Implications
for Crater Collapse.
Authors: Kempter, K.A.and Rowe, G.L.
2. Title: Isotopic and chemical composition of water and steam
discharges from volcanic-magmatic-hydrothermal systems of the Guanacaste
Geothermal Province, Costa Rica.
Authors: Giggenbach, W and Soto, R.C.
Source: Applied Geochemistry
Year: 309 - 332