Fogo volcano (Cape Verde): Lava destruction & photographic documentation by Martin Rietze
Update Fri 19 Dec 17:36
Advancing lava flow in Portela village, with the active volcano in the background (Photo: Martin Rietze)
Brink of a cascade of lava that forms part of the glowing hot lava river issuing from the nearby vent. (Photo: Martin Rietze)
Night time view of the active vents beneath the starry sky, taken at the moment of a very large strombolian phase (Photo: Martin Rietze)
Panorama across the Fogo caldera with view on the active area. (Photo: Martin Rietze)
It seems that after a short period of quietening down (9-14 December) the Fogo eruption has regained its strength. This confirms our earlier report of increased emission of sulphur dioxide thought to indicate the rise of a new magma batch.
After nearly 20 years of inactivity, the Pico de Fogo awakened with a violent flank eruption on the 23rd of November 2014. In less than 4 weeks , this eruption has devastated local communities and caused a humanitarian crisis as it forced 1500 local people to flee and it is likely that another 2000 will have to move to temporary shelters. Media coverage of this natural disaster has so far been remarkably small despite the fact that it is Fogo's largest volcanic eruption in decades, causing more damage to nearby settlements, and in a shorter time, than the 1995 eruption.
After destruction of the village of Portela (including the local wine cooperative, catholic church and tourist infrastructure) earlier this month, lava flows hit the town of Bagaiera and covered it completely. The technical team at the University of Cape Verde (Uni-CV) continues to monitor the volcanic eruption and reports that despite decreased intensity of the eruption, the two lava fronts (in Portela and Bagaiera) continue their path of destruction and now threaten the Monte Velho forestry reserve.
This eruption causes a large amount of infrastructural damage because there are a number of villages within the older caldera, near the present day active volcanic cone. This spatial correlation becomes very clear in one of the photographs taken by Martin Rietze. A world class volcano photographer, he spent some days on Fogo between the 30th of November and the 3rd of December and carefully documented all aspects of this eruption. The impact on the local population is portrayed in the damage caused in Portela, military effort to save some of the local wine stock, the main road that already got cut on the first day of the eruption, personal belongings dragged to safety on higher ground, … But he also captured the raw force of nature as strombolian explosions, day-time ash plumes, rivers and cascades of lava, and night-time fireworks from multiple vents. His photogallery
gives a very nice overview of the essence of this eruption!
Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program
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