Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Six minor eruptions closed park

Six minor eruptions in a hot lake crater have forced the closure of the Poas Volcano National Park, officials said on Sunday.An access road and paths to the 2 704m Poas allow visitors to peer directly into its kilometre-wide, 350-metre-deep lake crater.The strongest eruption came on Friday night, when the volcano spat lake sediments and hot rocks 150m in the air, officials said.

The national Vulcanological and Seismological Observatory said some impact craters were found 700m away. No lava was expelled.Authorities said they noticed a spike of activity within the volcano on March 17.Hundreds of thousands of visitors from across Costa Rica and around the world visit Poas and the surrounding park each year. Located about 60km north of the capital of San Jose, the reserve is also popular for its lagoons which formed as rainwater-filled craters.

Volcanic activity last shut down the park in 1994, but Poas has erupted repeatedly since 1828, often with volcanic heat causing geyser-like explosions of water.In 1990, acidic gases from the volcano damaged 20 000 acres of nearby crops.

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