Nyiragongo volcano (DR Congo): death toll rises to 32, ground cracks and tremors continue to worry
Wed, 26 May 2021, 18:1318:13 PM | BY: T
Slowly new details are becoming available about the recent eruption and current activity at the volcano and underground in form of earthquakes that continue to worry both scientists and the local population.
Recent ground fissure from Nyiragongo (image: Oliveira Simeon @oliveira_simeon / twitter)
Recent high-resolution INSAR radar images showed that the ground south of the volcano has risen by several centimeters during or since the eruption. The vertical displacement is highest in the area of Goma city, where numerous cracks in the ground have become visible.
This leads to fears that one possible scenario (not necessarily the most likely) could be the formation of a new dike - or lava-filled fissure - that could open in this area and produce a second, potentially catastrophic flank eruption.
Similar ground cracks were also observed during and shortly after the last flank eruptions in 1977 and 2002, but fortunately did not result in additional eruptions, but are thought to relate to adjustments of the ground after the drainage of significant volumes of magma during both eruptions. It is to be hoped that the same is true this time and that the seismic activity will gradually die down and not be followed by new lava eruptions at low elevations. More research and observations in the following days and weeks will be needed to get a bitter picture.
Goma-Nyiragongo: Les mouvements sismiques actuels sont causés par les manœuvres de la terre qui comble le vide qui s'est créé avec l'éjection de la lave, explique l'OVG https://t.co/ReUfxW0Bew pic.twitter.com/TcCevhqL4W— Oliveira Simeon (@oliveira_simeon) May 26, 2021
In the meanwhile, the death toll from the eruption has increased to 32 people, most of which died by secondary causes not the lava itself. The lava flows destroyed 2500 buildings including 3 medical centers.
Wed, 26 May 2021, 09:30
Nyiragongo Volcano Volcanic Ash Advisory: ERUPTION AT 20210522/1630Z PROBABLY STILL SOME LOW EMISSION to 20000 ft (6100 m)