National Geographic : 1965 Jul
I shifted into four-wheel drive and slewed through the drifts. A few more kilometers and I was in the zona muerta, the zone of death, near the summit. Here the ceniza was an in undation. I saw no living thing. Tall grasses were stiff and dry, trees leafless. I slogged ankle-deep across a field of ceniza to the lip of the crater and stood with a group of Costa Ricans, some wearing brown paper bags to shield their hair from falling ash. It was an eerie and hypnotic place. The smoke roiled in endless billows, expelled by explo sions deep in the mountain (pages 134-5). Rising above the crater for more than a thou sand feet, it formed a great cloud. Then the 128 prevailing easterly caught it and sent it stream ing toward San Jose and the Mieseta Central, the Central Plateau. A Costa Rican engrossed by the spectacle turned to me. "It is an emotion, that," he said, gesturing toward the crater. "It feels as if it is leaning on you. It makes me dizzy to watch." Creeping Death Afflicted the Land Frequently a commotion of shattering rock within the crater rattled like rifle fire. Then the volcano lofted hot boulders into the sky, and spectators ran for their lives (pages 136 7). In April, 1964, Irazi loosed an extraordi nary burst of blistering rocks. Two men were FRED WARn. BRIACK STAR (RIGHT.