Site Spotlight: Irazú Volcano, Costa Rica
Last summer when I went to visit the summit of the Irazú, the highest active Costa Rican volcano at 11,260 feet (3,432 meters). It’s so high that you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the country.
Its name was derived from the word for “thunder” used by the indigenous peoples of the region. There are several craters scattered throughout, each at different depths, one of which is 980 feet (300 metres) deep.
Boulders and ash during eruptions have been bad enough to destroy acres of crops, as well as dam rivers, causing flooding, and even effected those living 34 miles (54 km) away in the nation’s capital, San José.
The plants and lichens in the immediate area are damaged by the ash but if not engulfed by the eruption they will actually derive minerals and nutrients from the ash and cooled lava, then break down the sediment enough to create soil for other organisms to flourish.