This is a summary of the major eruptions of Arenal Volcano between July 29, 1968 and 2008 (Source: La Nación Newspaper)

“Currently the volcano is in a resting period with very little activity”

July 29, 1968   At 7:30 am a violent eruption occurred causing the death of 78 people and, over the next three days, devastating the villages of Tabacón and Pueblo Nuevo. An area of 15 km2 was affected

July 31, 1968   8 people were killed after the volcano erupted with another lava flow.  The victims were traveling in a car and were aid workers from La Fortuna.

September 19, 1968   A large quantity of lava flowed down from Crater “A” which had been newly created by the eruption of July 29.

June 17 to 21, 1975   There were several avalanches of incandescent lava from the new crater.  A pyroclastic flow descended the northern flank of the volcano towards the Tabacón River valley.

April 30, 1977  The Rural Guard started the evacuation of the residents of La Fortuna de San Carlos due to the release of a technical report warning of the risk of living within a 4 km radius of the crater.

October 15, 1980   Lava was observed flowing out of the crater.

August 13, 1985  An eruption of ash occurred, some of which fell onto the town of Tilarán.

July 1987  Great quantities of incandescent material erupted from Crater “C” and destroyed several acres of vegetation.

July 6, 1988  An American, Steven Simmler, died when a falling rock hit him as he was climbing the volcano.  His companion suffered severe burns.

December 26, 1988 A Panamanian and four Americans who were attempting to climb the volcano suffered minor burns after a sudden eruption.

August-September 1993  There were strong eruptions of lava, ash and rocks. The north wall of the Crater “C” collapsed under the pressure of the lava. Four lava avalanches occurred within 20 minutes.

May 1995  A strong eruption spewed ash and lava.

December 1996  Powerful eruptions were witnessed.

September 1997  Lava ejections were witnessed.

May 5, 1998  Lava and ash came very near to the Tabacón Resort after a strong eruption.  450 people were evacuated.  Part of the northwest wall of the crater collapsed.

October 26, 1999  Eruptions began about 5:00 pm and continued for 40 minutes, accompanied by large clouds of gas.

August 23, 2000  An emission of lava, ash and sand at 10:20 am, followed by a hot cloud of gas wounded American tourists – 48 year old Caryam Ruffin and her 8 year old daughter Raleigh Goldberg as well as their guide, Ignacio Protti, aged 28.  Protti died the next day and two weeks later the child died at a medical center at the University of Texas.

September 14, 2000   Arenal Volcano erupted furiously with lava and incandescent rock avalanches and sent out a cloud of ash which covered several nearby villages.

September 19, 2000  10 strong eruptions produced lava flows over two days.

March 25, 2001  One side of Crater “C” collapsed which caused the release of a lot of toxic material. 21 acres of vegetation were destroyed.

June 20, 2003  There was a very loud explosion at 8:47 am which interrupted the routine of the people living around the volcano. The eruption itself was weak and caused no damage or casualties.

2003-2008  Strombolian eruptions (characterized by repeated jetting of fluid lava into the air), lava flows and pyroclastic flows (incandescent rock and hot gas avalanches) continued.  There were 5 larger flows which descended on the north, northwest and southwest sides of the volcano.

This video was taken on 2008 when the volcano was very active. Taken from Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa by Phil Slosberg