Volcanic Deposits and Volcanic Hazard in Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica

  •  Martín Rojas-Barrantes    
  •  Mario Fernández-Arce    


The present research aims to investigate more precisely about the geology of the Eastern region of the Santo Domingo County. Santo Domingo is part of the structural plateau in the center of Costa Rica, which is located at the foot of the Cordillera Volcánica Central (CVF) [Central Volcanic Front] and is covered by volcanic deposits. On this plateau, called Central Valley, is the highest percentage of the population of the country and therefore, a large sector of the Costa Rican population is exposed to volcanic eruptions of the volcanoes in the CVF. For existing the national system for risk management and a law that demands actions to local authorities to prevent and mitigate disaster, it is necessary to identify the threats that exist in the cantons (counties) of Costa Rica. This will serve to take the prevention and mitigation actions necessary to reduce the impact of volcanic eruptions in the area of Santo Domingo.

The research method consisted of review and analysis of previous works through literature research, data collection and analysis of boreholes from records of water-supply wells and open pits, and field work to better know the geology of the area. The results indicate that there are deposits of powerful volcanic eruptions of pyroclastic fall deposits (volcanic ash and lapilli) that mostly form clayey soils and lahars deposits that practically covers the entire territory. Underlying these deposits there is a pyroclastic flow deposit (ignimbrite), followed by lapilli tephra (a layer of pumice of at least 2 meters thick) that mark a change in the volcanic activity. Such pyroclastic flow is overlaid by an igneous presumably sub-volcanic activity of andesites interlayered with ancient tuffs, with a considerable thickness of over 350 meters according with borehole data and the exposure recognition on Pará river study sites. According to site locations (P1 to P23) of volcaniclastic deposits, there is evidence of an important environmental impact caused by the last eruptions of the CVF volcanoes. The real and current volcanic threat to the population of the County is the fall-out of ash emitted from the Turrialba and Irazú volcanoes. From local observations along the Virilla and Pará rivers sections, there is no evidence of younger pyroclastic flows overlying the volcanic sequence.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9779
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9787
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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