A spectacular volcanic eruption was captured on infrared camera by scientists in Costa Rica. The Turrialba Volcano, situated 50 kilometres east of the Costa Rican capital San José, spread rocks, gas and ash into the air during an explosion in the early hours of 12 May.

Scientists from Costa Rica's National University Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica said the eruption scattered rocks across the nearby Central Valley.

Local media media reported that five schools schools were forced to shut for the day as a safety precaution. Those living nearby said they woke up to a strong smell of sulphur, and thin layers of ashfall were reported across the area, stretching as far away as the eastern parts of the capital.

A local airport was forced to shut its runway to allow staff to clean ash from the landing strip, Costa Rica's Civil Aviation Administration reported.

Scientists said the eruption was unusually strong and reached 3km above the volcano's summit. Seismic activity at Turrialba has since returned to the "relatively low" levels recorded prior to the explosion.