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Reports from Nigeria: dormant volcano stirring? 17 June 2011

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Nigeria.
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Some rather strange reports from Nigeria seem to suggest some kind of volcanic activity in Gombe State in the north-east of the country: emissions of some kind, possibly including toxic/environmentally harmful gases, have apparently been taking place in the Abaduguri range in Funakaye Local Government Area. North-eastern Nigeria does have a history of active volcanism (although how recently the area was active is not known) so the idea isn’t intrinsically unlikely. Descriptions of the supposed current activity, however, are rather baffling.

The Nigerian Observer quotes the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency saying that ‘the rock, which has been emitting smoke in the past seven months, was a sign of “a dormant volcano which may erupt in future”‘, while a scientist from the Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics of the National Space Research and Development Agency called the activity ‘a result of the impact of an earthquake that occurred in Pindiga formation, Gombe State, hundreds of years ago’. Elombah.com reports that ‘Local communities living around the Ndanijam Kargo Hill  in Funakaye Local Goverment Area and the surrounding villages in Gombe State of the North-Eastern part of Nigeria have been advised to relocate as a result of smoke emission at Abadaguri rocky range because the dormant volcano in the area is likely to erupt any time from now’. The gas has apparently been ‘gushing out from the rocky area’ for seven or eight months, and has ‘an odour of burning plastic’. The Daily Champion reports reassuringly that the Nigeria Meteorological Agency has described the eruption as ‘extinct or dormant’, and adds the interesting information (from a Funakaye local official) that ‘the crack where the smoke was emitting from, used to be the entrance to the house of a renowned hunter in the area, Abbaguri ,who lived in the cafe hundreds of years ago’.

Perhaps the situation will become clearer as new reports emerge. Hat tip to Eruptions commenter Shérine for spotting these mysterious reports.

UPDATE. Experts from Nigeria’s Centre for Geodesy and Geodynamics have been testing gases at the location of the emissions, reports the Abuja newspaper Daily Trust. Apparently their analysis revealed that ‘gases could result to the formation of magma capable of causing volcanic eruption in the area’.

Dormant volcano comes alive in north-eastern Nigeria – Elombah.com, 10 June 2011
Volcanic eruption in Gombe dormantDaily Champion, 12 June 2011
Smoke-emitting rock may erupt, says NESREANigerian Observer, 17 June 2011

Global Volcanism Program: Biu Plateau – summary information from the GVP for the Biu Plateau volcanic field (0204-05-)

The Volcanism Blog