Volcano showing signs of activity in Congo

14 December 2004 | 11:40 Code : 4547 Geoscience events
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A volcano which devastated Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo three years ago is showing new signs of activity, adding to local anxiety over political turmoil in the region, a local scientist said on Sunday.

A volcano which devastated Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo three years ago is showing new signs of activity, adding to local anxiety over political turmoil in the region, a local scientist said on Sunday. Celestin Kasereka, who heads the volcano observatory in Goma, said there was intense activity inside the crater of Mount Nyiragongo. The summit of the mountain is currently glowing red at night. However Kasereka said there was little risk of an eruption from the sides of the mountain, which could send volcanic ash and lava plunging down towards the city. An eruption of Mount Nyiragongo covered much of Goma in thick ash and lava in January 2002. Kasereka said the heightened volcanic activity on the mountain had spread fear among the local population, who are already on edge due to fighting in the region. He added however that his laboratory now possessed equipment which allowed it to predict a major eruption a month ahead, which was not the case with the 2002 event. "None of the signs which would indicate a possible eruption on the sides of the mountain have been observed," he told AFP. He also said there was no reason to fear an eruption under Lake Kivu, which also contains underwater volcanic fissures.

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