Turrialba Volcano: Turrialba Volcano National Park (Costa Rica)

Turrialba Volcano: Turrialba Volcano National Park (Costa Rica)

Mon, 06/06/2022 - 18:56

Turrialba Volcano is located in the easternmost part of the Central Volcanic Range and is the second-highest volcano in Costa Rica. Turrialba Volcano National Park is a part of the Central Conservation Area of Costa Rica and encompasses the area around the volcano.

Turrialba Volcano

Turrialba Volcano is a stratovolcano in Costa Rica, located in the province of Cartago, northwest of the city of Turrialba. The volcano is situated in the easternmost part of the Central America Volcanic Arc and forms a single system in conjunction with the Irazú Volcano.

At a maximum elevation of 3,340 m (10,958 ft) above sea level, it is the second-highest volcano in the country from which it is possible to see the Caribbean plains, the Turrialba Valley and the Talamanca mountain range.

On its slopes, two cones have developed: Cerro Tiendilla at 2,971 m (9,747 ft) above sea level and Armado at 2,750 m (9,022 ft) above sea level. It has three craters with the presence of dry lava flows on its flanks.

Major eruptions in the past include the years between 1864 and 1868. Since 2014, volcanism has increased on the mountain and has featured ash clouds that have repeatedly impacted portions of the country with deposits of gritty soot and in 2015, caused temporary closures of Juan Santamaría International Airport in the capital city of San Jose.

During the month of October 2015, it entered into a period of shorter eruptions, but with a higher level of explosiveness.

Turrialba Volcano National Park

Turrialba Volcano National Park is a part of the Central Conservation Area of Costa Rica and encompasses the area around the Turrialba Volcano in Cartago Province. It is one of the four national parks within the Cordillera Volcánica Central Biosphere Reserve.

This protected area is located in the canton of Turrialba in the province of Cartago, in the easternmost part of the Central America Volcanic Arc, 24 km (15 mi) northwest of the city of Turrialba.

Due to eruptions, the park was closed to tourists in 2012 and reopened on December 4, 2020. Meanwhile, new emergency shelters were created, the visitor center was renovated and railings at lookout spots were added. A two-kilometer perimeter closure around the crater is still in place.

Turrialba Volcano National Park has an average temperature of 16 °C (60 °F) and experiences an average rainfall of 3,000 to 4,000 mm (118 to 157 in).

Biology

Turrialba Volcano National Park is part of the Talamanca Montane forests ecoregion.

Representative flora species are oak (Quercus sp.), Orange blossom bush (Azahar de monte, Clusia sp.), Candelillo (Piper sp.), cipresillo (Cypress, Podocarpus sp.), Chili grind (Drymis granadensis), bayberry (Weinmannia pinnata), among others.

Bird species include 84 that have been identified, most representative in the area of the craters. They include: red tail hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), frentiverde hummingbirds lance peak (Doryfera ludoviciae) and chispita volcanera (Selaphorus flammula), jilguerillos (Catharus ustulatus), tangaras (Tangara spp.),  and carpenters (Picoides villosus).

Eleven species of mammals have been reported, such as the coyote (Canis latrans), rabbit (Sylvilagus dicei), armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) and smelly fox (epatus semistriatus).