Virtual GEO

Barva Volcano, Costa Rica

Dangerous While Asleep: Examining Dormant Volcanoes

Why Do We Study Dormant Volcanoes?

Visible from most windows in the city of San José, the capital  Costa Rica, towering volcanoes present an obvious natural hazard to the rapidly growing and modernizing Central American nation. Poás erupted most recently in early 2017 causing considerable economic losses to the tourist industry that is a crucial source of national income. Barva has been inactive since the mid-1800’s and little is known several other nearby dormant volcanoes. The last eruptive activity at Irazú (1963-1966; another volcano close to San José) generated profuse ash falls that significantly impacted the agriculture, health, infrastructure and other socioeconomic processes. With San José situated between so many poorly understood volcanoes, it is critical to the social and economic welfare of this city to fully investigate the systems contributing the natural hazard risk in this area.

What Are We Doing?

This project is an international student-oriented research effort that will involve the acquisition and processing of multiple types of data from several poorly understood and unstudied volcanic features surrounding the city of San José in Costa Rica.  This work will be accomplished through the following methodologies.

  • Collection of new Lidar data and reexamination of previously collected data.
  • Examination of historic aerial photography with modern photogrammetry techniques.
  • Deployment of new drone remote sensing studies in areas of interest.
  • Creation of high-resolution digital elevation maps.
  • Collection of hand samples for geochemical evaluation.