Seismologists record additional 92 earthquakes around Mount Nyiragongo volcano
Seismologists have recorded additional 92 earthquakes around the Mount Nyiragongo volcano which erupted a week ago in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A daily report prepared by the Goma Volcanic Observatory (GVO) explained that the volcano’s crater “continues to collapse, which contributed to the earthquake and caused ash emissions visible from Goma.”
Mount Nyiragongo volcano first erupted last Saturday, killing approximately 31 people. Another 400,000 people have also been displaced after fleeing the city as the government warned of a second eruption.
Since the first eruption, the region has experienced a series of earthquakes and tremors, some felt as far away as the Rwandan capital of Kigali, 65 miles from the volcano.
A volcanologist, Dario Tedesco, said a rift in the regional faults continues to contribute to earthquake activity. Tedesco said the plumes of light gray ash coming out of the volcano’s crater indicate that the crater floor is collapsing. “The top that was frozen is now going down. … It’s gently, not violently, going in. It’s nothing to worry about.”
He added its black ashes that indicate an explosion, therefore the gray ash doesn’t represent any imminent danger. He also warned people against returning to their homes.
In another daily report prepared for the government by the Goma Volcanic Observatory (GVO) earlier warned that lava flows “can cause asphyxiation, severe burns or death.”
The report also laid out four possible scenarios, the best case being that the earthquakes stop and that no second eruption occurs.
However, it warned that the continued movement of magma through a fissure toward Lake Kivu could lead to a limnic eruption, where an eruption under the lake could cause it to send debris flying and emit toxic gas. That could be a worst-case scenario.
“If lava erupts in the Kivu River, keep a considerable distance away, as the explosions could produce dangerous ballistics,” the report said.
A volcanic eruption or large earthquake could destabilize the lake’s deep waters and emit dissolved gases.
Gas emissions are likely to become more prevalent in the coming days because of the increase in the volume of underground magma.
The report said fissures could release lethal concentrations of gases, urging people to stay away and be on the lookout for children in low-lying areas.
The report added that people should take precautions in using water for drinking and washing vegetables as volcanic ash may have contaminated water tanks.