Friday, October 19, 2007

Volcan Tenorio National Park

Last weekend we visited a national park about two and a half hours away. The generating force for the park is the volcanic mountain of Tenorio, one of several volcanoes running down the middle of the country. The increased elevation and proximity to both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts makes for high species diversity. The forests are thick and wet and small blond children can sometimes be found hiding under some of the ground vegetation.

One of the stories that drew us here was a tale of a blue river. We found it. The next picture shows the confluence of two rivers, neither of which is blue. A larger flow enters from the left, just off camera. A smaller flow enters from the right at the top of the picture. Each river carries a different natural chemical such that when they meet an exothermic reaction occurs. The white zone in the middle has temperatures around 40 degrees C (around 100F) whereas the rest of the water is in the 20's C. The mixed water flows out to the right a striking blue color. Our guide said that the causative agent is copper sulfate. (harkening back to my lab tech days in the electroplating factory in Bethlehem, PA, such an explanation seems plausible).

And then, downriver ...

The lush forests are home to a variety of animals. We spotted a couple of frogs, a bright orange millipede, some Capuchin monkeys, a three-toed sloth, and lots of birds. Surprisingly, the critters pictured below were all found within 50 yards of our cabin.

Julian offers his trip review.

I think that means, "Two thumbs up!"

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