Monday, 20 March 2023

Possible eruption on Mount Nyamulagira, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Scientists at the Goma Volcanological Observatory have reported seeing bright lights consistent with an eruption on the summit of Mount Nyamulagira, a 3058 m high shield volcano in the Virungu Mountains of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, about 25 km to the north of Lake Kivu. This was accompanied by seismic activity beneath the volcano, which is often indicative of magma moving into chambers prior to an eruption. Mount Nyamalugira, which lies in North Kivu Province, is often considered to be Central Africa's most active volcano, having erupted more than 40 times since 1885. Due to the highly active nature of the volcano it presents little threat to human life, because nobody chooses to live near it, though concerns have occasionally been raised about the threat it presents to wildlife in the Viruga National Park.

The approximate location of Mount Nyamulagira. Google Maps.

Mount Nyamulagira lies on the Eastern Branch of the East African Rift, which is slowly splitting the African Plate in two along a line from the Red Sea through Ethiopia, and which includes the great lakes and volcanoes of east-central Africa. This has the potential to open into a new ocean over the next few tens of millions of years, splitting Africa into two new, smaller, continents; Nubia to the west and Somalia to the east.

Movement on the African Rift Valley, with associated volcanoes. Rob Gamesby/Cool Geography.

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