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Museum at Arenal Observatory Lodge
Volcanology and Hydrology research
Arenal Volcano receives over 5000 millimeters of rain annually. The high rainfall has caused rapid erosion and frequent mudflows and landslides.
Smithsonian research projects – and others – have been completed a variety of topics, including:
- Eruption activity
- Reconstruction of details of the 1968 eruptions
- Reconstruction of details of pre-historic eruptions
- Measurement of acid rain
- Measurement of species regeneration in volcanically affected areas
- Measurement of changes in soil chemistry and mineralogy
- The effects of volcanic activity on local biology
The original Smithsonian volcano observatory facilities continue to attract researchers, and not only from the Smithsonian Institute. Scientists studying at the Arenal Observatory Lodge have come from the Smithsonian Institute, the Earthwatch Institute, the Organization of Tropical Studies, OVSICORI (Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica), the University of California, and other institutions interested in taking advantage of the lodge’s unique volcanic observatory location.
Hydrology, Not Just Volcanology
The Arenal-Corobicí Hydroelectric Complex is part a large-scale project undertaken by the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) to harness the huge energy-generating potential of Arenal Lake. The project included construction of two massive dams and the creation of Lake Arenal, a man-made lake covering an area of almost 90 square kilometers.
The hydraulic energy of Lake Arenal and its surrounding rivers account for almost 40% of Costa Rica’s energy production