A trip to Poas + Eruption simulations!
Welcome back! It’s been a long week here in Costa Rica. We are all finishing up our final presentations, continuing some work that we started over the summer, and doing more field work, of course! As the landslide team, Rosa and I have been polishing up our final landslide susceptibility maps for the Cordillera Talamanca region, and we are excited to finally share our results with everyone.
On a different note, today Rosa and I also had the opportunity to visit the Poas Volcano National Park again with our mentor, Paulo. Despite it being a beautiful day to look at the crater and its newly-formed lake (its wasn’t there over the summer!), we had some work to do. The purpose of our visit was to run simulations regarding the evacuation and sheltering process of the crater overlook in the event of a volcanic eruption. More specifically, we used an eruption that occurred on September 30th of 2019 as reference to model our simulation after.
We used eight different tourist groups in our simulation. Once a new group came to the overlook, we would gather them and explain that we were with the University of Costa Rica, and at some point during their 20 allotted minutes at the overlook, a park ranger would blow the whistle and indicate our fake eruption was happening. The participants would then make their way to any of the 3 concrete shelters on the overlook, wait for about ninety seconds, and then evacuate the overlook using the same way they came in. Our job was to measure how long it took the participants to reach the shelters and record how many went to each of the shelters.
Overall, the simulation went very well and we collected a lot of data that can be used to improve the Volcano overlook. I’m especially glad I got to experience Poas (and in a broader sense, Costa Rica) beyond the typical tourist itinerary.