Costa Rica's Turrialba volcano belched a column of gas and ash over 3,000ft into the air on 12 March in its most powerful eruption in two decades, and local authorities started to evacuate residents from the surrounding area.

Four explosions emanated from the volcano in central Costa Rica and ash reached parts of the capital San Jose some 30 miles away, where the airport was closed. It was the volcano's strongest eruption since 1996.

"Today's emissions have released more ash and gas into the air. The volume of ash reflects the energy of these eruptions." said volcanologist, Maria Martinez.

Significant emissions were also reported at the volcano last year.

"What we noted is a drastic reduction in the fluidity of gas on the western crater. However the activation maintained a very high level, similar to the levels observed last year," added Martinez.

Residents living around the volcano were faced with a clean up as dust built up on cars and homes.

Costa Rica's emergency services ordered the closure of access roads near the volcano, which is major tourist draw, and were evacuating a radius of just over a mile around the volcano.