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Nyamuragira continues to erupt 7 January 2010

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Congo (Dem. Rep.), eruptions, Nyamuragira.
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MODIS hotspots at Nyamuragira volcano, D. R. Congo, 2-6 January 2010

Five days after it began the eruption of Nyamuragira volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo is continuing, with fire fountains and very liquid and free-flowing lava. The images above, compiled from the University of Hawaii MODIS hotspots monitoring website, show the thermal signatures detected by satellite on 2, 3, 4 and 6 January 2010 (the 5 January image shows no hotspots). The flows are directed towards the south-west. The large lake is Lake Kivu, and the small body of water to its north-west is the Gulf of Kabuno. The high level of CO2 present in the Gulf of Kabuno is a potential hazard we discussed here yesterday.

The most up-to-date information on the eruption comes from the people on the spot at the Virunga National Park: an entry dated 5 January at the gorillacd blog (including dramatic aerial photographs) reports that lava had travelled 21 km from the vent, but a comment on that entry dated 7 January updates this with information from the UN to say that the advance of the lava has slowed, with only 100 metres of advance in the last 24 hours, not because the eruption rate has slowed – the activity of the volcano remains intense – but because the lava front has widened from 15 metres to about 200 metres. More news and links to sources of information for this eruption can be found at OpEdNews: ‘Congo volcano still active’.

‘The Virunga National Park, home to 200 of the world’s 720 mountain gorillas, is in the path of molten hot lava spewing from a volcano that has erupted in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’, reports redOrbit (lava that is molten and hot is recognized by volcanologists as the worst kind). The New Zealand Herald observes that the park is ‘home to a spectacular range of mega fauna’ and reports that ‘the eruption has been “very destructive” to the chimpanzee range’ – and also says that Nyamuragira is ‘believed to be the most active volcano in the world’. If so, this is an erroneous belief. ITN reports that ash is contaminating local water supplies, leading to an increase in local people suffering cholera and diarrhoea. The New Scientist has chosen to headline its report on the Nyamuragira eruption ‘Troops protect chimps from volcano lava’, which conjures up some weird images but is in fact a reference to the United Nations force in Congo (MONUC) offering to lend aircraft to the park authorities to help them monitor the progress of the eruption and – as far as possible – protect the park’s population of endangered chimpanzees from its effects.

News
Troops protect chimps from volcano lavaNew Scientist, 5 January 2010
Raw video: Congo volcano spews lavaWashington Post, 5 January 2010
DRC national park in path of erupting volcano – redOrbit, 5 January 2010
Eruption menaces endangered chimps’ Congo homeNew Zealand Herald, 5 January 2010
Congo volcano continues to erupt – ITN, 6 January 2010
Congo volcanic eruption threatens to surround native chimps with lava – Discover Blogs, 6 January 2010
Congo volcano still active: lava flow approaches Goma/Bukavu road – OpEdNews, 6 January 2010

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Nyamuragira – summary information for Nyamuragira (0203-02=)

The Volcanism Blog

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