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Archive for May 11th, 2009

Is Mt Nyamulagira Erupting?

Posted by feww on May 11, 2009

Scientists in the DR Congo have reportedly recorded significant increased volcanic activity around the city of Goma

Mount Nyamuragira, Africa’s most active volcano, about 25km (16 miles) north of Goma, may soon erupt.

A large section of the city of Goma, located in the east of the country was destroyed in 2002 after  Mount Nyiragongo erupted.

Scientist Dieudonne Wafula told the BBC on May 8, if it did erupt, there would not be an immediate threat to Goma, but some key rural roads could be cut off.

A general view of the refugee camp at Kibati at the foot of Nyiragongo volcano in eastern Congo, November 14, 2008.  REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly. Image may be subject to copyright.

Volcano: Nyamuragira

Country:  DR Congo
Region: Central Africa
Volcano Type: Shield volcano
Last Known Eruption: 2006
Summit Elevation: 3058 m  (10,033 feet)
Latitude: 1.408°S   (1°24’30″S)
Longitude: 29.20°E  (29°12’0″E)
Source: Global Volcanism Program (GVP)

Lava fountains from the new cone of Mikombe on the lower NE flank of Zaire’s Nyamuragira volcano feed the lava flow in the foreground. This photo was taken from the SE on September 29, nine days after the start of the eruption. During the first week the new cone, whose name means “many bats,” grew to a height of 60-70 m. Lava flows had traveled 6-7 km NE by the time of this photo. The eruption continued until February 1993, by which time lava flows had traveled 19 km to the NE. Photo by Minoru Kasahara, 1991 (Hokkaido University). Caption GVP.

Depiction of the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes, based on data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and Landsat. Vertical scale exaggerated (1.5x).  Image ID: PIA03337.  Date: February 2000 – December 2001. Image:Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira – PIA03337.png (high resolution) . NASA/JPL/NIMA

Depiction of the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes, based on data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or Aster, and Landsat. Some lava flows (not all) from the 2002-01-17 eruption are shown in red. Date: February 2000 – January 2002. Image ID: PIA03339.  NASA/JPL/NIMA

The summit of Nyamuragira volcano is truncated by 2 x 2.3 km wide caldera whose floor is partially covered by unvegetated historical lava flows. This view from above the SW caldera rim shows a pit crater on the far side of the caldera at the upper left that was the site of a lava lake, active since at least 1921, which drained in 1938 at the time of a major flank eruption. Africa’s most active volcano, 3058-m-high Nyamuragira rises about 25 km north of Lake Kivu in the East African Rift Valley NW of Nyiragongo volcano.  Photo by Simon Carn, 2004 (TOMS Volcanic Emissions Group, University of Maryland, Baltimore County). CAption: GVP.

Major Volcanoes of the DR Congo

From: Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program Website, 2002

Africa’s most active volcano, Nyamuragira is a massive basaltic shield volcano that rises north of Lake Kivu across a broad valley northwest of Nyiragongo volcano. The volcano has a volume of 500 cubic kilometers and extensive lava flows from Nyamuragira cover 1500 square kilometers of the East African Rift. The 3058-meter-high summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 kilometer summit caldera that has walls up to about 100 meters high. Historical eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, frequently modifying the morphology of the caldera floor, as well as from the numerous fissures and cinder cones on the volcano’s flanks. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938. Twentieth-century lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit, reaching as far as Lake Kivu.

From Reuters

From Reuters, Cnn

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo — A river of molten rock continued to pour from a volcano in Congo on Friday, a day after it erupted, killing 45, swallowing buildings and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the city of Goma.

Hundreds of U.N. workers were also forced to flee in the 24 hours since waves of lava began forking from Mount Nyiragongo volcano through villages on its slopes, down through Goma itself and on to Lake Kivu on the Rwandan border.

Gaping holes opened up in Goma, normally a city of more than 500,000 but now virtually a ghost town, and molten rock reduced roads and buildings to fiery ash.

Fourteen villages in the path of the lava were said to have been incinerated.

“The smell of sulphur is everywhere, there are tremors every 10 minutes,” Desire Bukasa, a radio controller for a U.N. agency in Goma, told Reuters.

“I’m trying to work out how to evacuate the town. There are fissures opening up in the town which billow smoke. People are scared.”

Tens of thousands hurriedly left possessions behind and fled across the border into Rwanda as a two metre high surge of molten lava advanced from the 3,469-metre (11,380 foot) volcano, destroying everything in its path.

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