Volcan Turrialba – My Shot of the Day – December 2, 2013

volcan turrialba


Volcan Turrialba (~11,000 feet) caked in cloud frosting hat brought on by some crazy violent winds. This shot was taken from the top of Volcan Irazu in a wind so fierce I could barely hold the camera still. When I arrived at Irazu it was smeared in a thick coating of chilly mist. I put on all my clothes to venture out to the crater rim. A group of Costa Rican school boys huddled in the bathroom and cursed. I waited as long as a could and bought some coffee.

Why is it that there is a coffee stand or ice-cream kid at the top of every volcano in Central America…?

It took about an hour for the wind to kick up to about 50 mph and clear the clouds away. If anyone out there can explain how that wind shaped the clouds over Volcan Turriabla, I’ll gladly buy you a beer.

Volcan Turrialba is a “stratovolcano”:

A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a conical volcano built up by many layers (strata) of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic explosive eruptions and quiet eruptions, although there are some with collapsed craters called calderas. The lava that flows from stratovolcanoes typically cools and hardens before spreading far due to high viscosity. The magma forming this lava is often felsic, having high-to-intermediate levels of silica (as in rhyolite, dacite, or andesite), with lesser amounts of less-viscous mafic magma. Extensive felsic lava flows are uncommon, but have travelled as far as 15 km (9.3 mi).

volcan turrialba

Volcan Turrialba last erupted in 1866. In 2001 it started rumbling again. In 2005 it kicked off another round of activity that built up to a small 2010 eruption of ash that resulted in the evacuation of two of the small villages on its flanks.

Meanwhile…down in the cloud forest….hummingbirds…..


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17 Responses to Volcan Turrialba – My Shot of the Day – December 2, 2013

  1. CheyAnne Sexton December 2, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    wonderful volcano Jim, but that shot of the chuparosa is stunning. Len said to tell you "Yeah that hummer was just at our house the other day" (just kidding) So glad to see your trip.
    peace n abundance,

  2. CheyAnne Sexton December 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    so do the comment I made on the fb thingy but does it count here on your blog too. Love that little chuparosa BIG time

  3. CheyAnne Sexton December 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    did, did the comment show up

  4. Laura Shields December 3, 2013 at 1:45 am #

    Will you please buy me a beer anyway?

  5. Michael Krivor December 3, 2013 at 2:48 am #

    Very cool…I climbed Turrialba back in 1990. There was nothing but a radio tower on top (def no coffee/ice cream stand!)…

  6. Jess Van Wickel December 3, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    Fascinating; I love volcanoes, really got into them from college geology classes. Nice shots too.

  7. Charli | Wanderlusters December 2, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    Superb shot of the Humming Bird Jim! Thanks for brightening my day :)

  8. Jim O'Donnell December 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    I will indeed!

  9. Jim O'Donnell December 3, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    Michael Krivor No ice cream!? What a rip off!

  10. Jim O'Donnell December 3, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    Thank you! They were everywhere and fearless! Say hi to Len!

  11. Jim O'Donnell December 3, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

    Yes. They are very cool. I should get up on this one in a few days if the weather cooperates. Its still covered in clouds with rain and fierce wind. Tonight, I'm right at its base.


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