Costa Rica, Thursday 21 January 2010

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Turrialbla Volcano Spews Out Helium, Forces Closure Of Two Schools

Experts of the Red Sismológica Nacional (RSN) and the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI) are keeping a very close eye on the Turrialba volcano activity with the increase in the emanation of gases such as helium, sulphur and carbon dioxide.

The experts like Jorge Andrés Díaz of the Centro de Investigaciones de Ciencias Atómicas y Nucleares de la UCR (Cicanum) - Research Center of Atomic and Nuclear Sciences at Universidad de Costa Rica - says there have been important changes on the behaviour of the colossus and as such has decided to maintain the yellow alert indefinitely.

Volcanologist Rolando Mora of the RSN considers the information being gathered at the Turrialba valuable.

Mora said that the volcano is continually generating changing information that is the subject of close analysis.

The Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE) - National Emergency Commission - continues a yellow alert for the communities of Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Capellados and Pacayas and has ordered that the two schools news the Turrialba volcano not be used for the election vote on February 7 and the start of the school year on February 10.

The director of the local emergency committee, Sandra Sabdorío, said that the schools La Central and La Pastora not be used, forcing the relocation of some 60 students that normally attend the two schools.

The experts haven't ruled out the presence of lava in the volcano, but prefer not to alarm the population by speaking on the subject.

The Cicanum  helium measurement is reported to be a concentration of 20 parts per million, short of the 30 ppm ever measured at the volcano in the past

The measurements suggest the possibility of a "magmatic intrusion", the rise of molten rock into the earth's crust.

For the time being, experts continue measuring gas emanations from the volcano and flyby's and reluctant to speculate on the possibility of an eruption despite increased concentrations of helium in the recent days.







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