Visiting the Pacific Side
The Rincon de la Vieja volcano is a massive 600-year-old geological wonder with at least nine volcanic cones. Geothermal activities relates to the heat found under the earth. In and around the region of Rincon de la Vieja, volcanic activity isn’t far from the surface.
Rincon de la Vieja showcases geothermal features, similar to that seen in parks like Yellowstone (in the USA) or Rotorua (in New Zealand). Along the north slopes of the volcano (the Caribbean side),the rainforest begins. The geothermal activity means what to see includes unique volcanic “blue” rivers and natural mineral “green” hot springs. Along the Pacific side (the southern slope) of Rincon de la Vieja volcano at Las Pailas and Las Hornillas, take an enjoyable hike to witness boiling mud pots, sulphur springs, steam vents and fumaroles.
One of the largest geothermal electricity generating projects in the world is scattered through the valley between Rincon de la Vieja volcano and the Miravales Volcano. Stainless steel turbines snake their way from wells driven into the earth to turbine generating stations near Guayabal or La Fortuna de Bagaces. Investigations have been carried out into the feasibility of tapping Rincon de la Vieja’s reserves and the volcano is estimated to have a generating potential of 140 megawatts. However, since Rincon de la Vieja is a protected national park, drilling has been limited to test wells. Further drilling will require approval, following environmental impact studies.
For more in-depth information about the volcanoes of Costa Rica and Rincon de la Vieja read over www.ovsicori.una.ac.cr – for those who can understand Spanish.
OVSICORI-A has developed the System Monitoring Volcanoes in Costa Rica. It integrates a group of professional disciplines for diagnosing and assessing the activity of volcanoes. Additionally there is a warning system in place to ensure proper steps are taken to mitigate the impact of volcanic eruptions.