Costa Rican Seismologists Inspect Volcan Baru

I ran across an interesting article that I thought I would share. The article is from This is a Costa Rican article and presented from Costa Rica’s perspective. The article’s title in English is  Possible Panamanian volcano eruption could affect the country.

Following is the gist of the original article in English.

Volcan Baru draws the attention of the Costa Rican seismologists for its potential to affect Costa Rica’s southern zone. the colossus measures 3,474 meters and is hard to see from the country.

It is the tallest south of Central America and is just 40 kilometers from San Vito de Coto Brus in the province of Chiriqui.

For this reason National Seismological Network seismologists will conduct a tour of the South Zone. Its aim is to raise awareness in neighboring communities such as Golfito, Ciudad Neily, Corredores and Osa.

The volcano’s last strong activity was 500 years ago, this situation is no guarantee of future safety.

For this reason in the coming weeks Costa Rican specialists will visit the Volcan Baru.

Due to the narrowness of the Isthmus of Panama and the height of the volcano, on a clear day you can see from its summit the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

A previous and similar article from last November follows:

More than 22 days ago, experts from the National Seismological Network (RSN) visited the Baru Volcano, located west of the province of Chiriqui in Panamá.

The objective was to study in depth due to the constant activity that has occurred in recent months, the last strong eruption ago 500 years.The interest seismologists movements Panamanian colossus is because in case of an eruption occurred this could generate direct effects on our country.

Some of the damages which could cause result from volcanic activity are: ash, air traffic, respiratory problems in people and animals.

Currently the National Seismological Network monitors and analyzes strategies Baru if an emergency occurs.

So apparently, Costa Rica is creating a plan in the event of an eruption. Does that make you wonder if Panama has made similar plans. Does that incentivize you to register with the your Embassy so they have an accurate head count in case of emergency.  U.S. Citizens should use STEP to register.

Something to think about.

Following is Panama’s response to TeleTica’s article. It basically says, don’t worry, we have you covered and there is no threat.

The National Civil Protection System issued a statement denying rumors of a possible involvement in Costa Rica for alleged barú eruption Volcano, located in the province of Chiriqui, Panama.

“The volcano poses no risk right now … Baru volcano has shown no signs of being in eruptive phase, Panama possesses necessary to indicate any risk instrumentation, this publication lacks scientific technical value”, José Donderis director said SINAPROC.
This week the chain Teletica published a report with statements of volcanologists of the National Seismological Network of Costa Rica, which indicate a possible risk of effects caused by ash in Costa Rican communities to shop Baru volcano eruption. Further notes that in the coming days, a group of experts will visit Panama ticos to study.

Donderis explained that SINAPROC is in constant communication with the Institute of Geosciences at the University of Panama, and urged people not to believe and not sharing information that give rise to speculation.

10 thoughts on “Costa Rican Seismologists Inspect Volcan Baru

  1. Everyone should always take proper care & caution even in their everyday life and have a ‘What IF’ plan. More than likely this would be a Catastrophic event with untold consequences for all of Costa Rica and Panama. Let us Hope that Panama has a contingency plan and if you live in proximity to have a ready plan for yourself and loved ones.

  2. The volcano is a short distance from our home. We can clearly see the towers on top. We have talked about “just in case” but really didn’t think too seriously until now. Panama better get with it. I’m sure if they reported anything they would be worried their tourism would drop. We are sure the Embassy knows where we are in case of an emergency. But, going to check to be sure. Thanks for this article Don…very informative.

  3. The link provided by Bruce Cornett is one of the many Baru Volcano studies undergone by Panamanian and foreign experts. Though not a specialist, I frequently read on the topic. Most probaby, many of us are involuntarily confusing the words “possible” with “imminent” ( risk). Let´s enioy our province, the nice climate of Panama Highlands and trust our Risk Management Authorities ruled by Mr. Donderis, currently in a seminar in Japan along with other peers from Central America. Have a nice day!

  4. Richard Dietrich, on his blog had a detailed summary of this threat, several years ago. It appears to me that he has edited the original article since from my recall, as it was not exactly a positive endorsement of the area with the USGS information.

    It can be read here:

    In the original information, an eruption was predicted to occur on or before the year 2035. Of course, this is only an estimate by USGS.

    For perspective, when I first started visiting here regularly just before I relocated here several months later, in 2006, I was told that there was no volcanic activity in Panama.
    The Volcan Baru, I was informed, was “extinct.” When I first started living here, I then heard that the Baru was upgraded to “inactive.” A little later, when I started living in Volcan, I then heard that the volcano was now “dormant.” Unknown to many residents in Volcan, was that a year earlier in 2006, there was so much new seismic activity on Baru, known as an “earthquake swarm,” that a school was shut down in Boquete for fear of eruption.
    This earthquake swarm raised fears that the Volcano could erupt sometime in the future with explosive force. (

    Now the volcano is considered as “active.”

    I moved from Volcan a couple of years later attributable to being closer to my wife’s family, but in the area that I live now, just south of La Concepcion, in a local park setting, there is a large lava boulder sitting there, which was deposited by the massive Baru eruption thought to be in the 16th century. I estimate that this is about 50 KM from the summit of Baru. In Cuesta de Piedra, on the way to Volcan, there is so much lava rock that the area is called “slopes of stone” in an English translation.

    Indeed, as USGS and Richard Dietrich point out, the whole top or dome of the then Baru “blew completely off.” It not only displaced the people living there, it catastrophically destroyed what level of civilization that they had as well, if not killed nearly all of them. We have no record of such, as the Romans compiled, with the famous destruction of Pompeii.

    We have no indication of any preparation by Panamanian authorities for such a possible seismic event. My understanding of the many high rise structures in Panama City, for instance, that few, if any, can withstand an earthquake possibly associated with an Baru eruption. Few, if any, are built to such specifications.

    It may be wise, to be aware of the threat of this event, and make whatever contingency plans deemed necessary.

    It appears however, that the western part of the country would be affected in such a way that could compare to the earlier eruption in the 16th century.

  5. Anyway, they are talking in “geologic time” . But if all of a sudden the volcano blows our bodies´ debris would be wandering in space without Internet connection… Have good night.

  6. Volcan Baru is the same type of volcano as Mt. St. Helen, a stratovolcano, so you see what kind of blow it could do. The good news is, those types of volcanoes give a 2-3 week warning, leaving you time to evacuate (but not time to sell your house).

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