Volcanic hazards case study: Mount Nyiragongo DRC 2002

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Global issues earth hazards revision
Volcanic hazards case study: Mount Nyiragongo, DRC 2002
Background information
Huge political instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo due to the conflicts
over the exploitation of the DRC's mineral resources by overseas companies which
is not benefitting local populations. Mount Nyiragongo is located near the city of
Goma which is a violent city where civilians are often murdered by rebel groups.
Causes of Mount Nyiragongo
Mount Nyiragongo has the largest and most active lava lake in the world which
contains very fluid lava.
It is unusually active for a composite volcano and this could be due to the
location of it on a hotspot along with its location on the boundary between 2
rifting parts of the African plate.
The lava is unusually fluid for a composite volcano which is due to the
extremely low silica content which means the lava is alkali rich and
therefore thinner.
200,000 made homeless
45 deaths from poisonous gases and from collapsing buildings
2/3 of run way at airport unusable
Several smaller earthquakes occurred for months after eruption causing
further damage
80% of Goma's industrial infrastructure destroyed
Many Congolese fled to Rwanda but as the authorities had no warning of
this, they were unprepared for the influx of refugees leaving many on the
Many evacuees returned to Goma as it was safer than staying in Rwanda
Aid agencies were able to respond quickly as they were already located in
the DRC due to the ongoing conflict and were able to provide shelter and
Long term aid from MEDC's was low as they were reluctant to provide it
due to the political instability in the country
Issues concerning Mt. Nyiragongo
Future eruptions can't be predicted as conflict prevents scientists from
reaching the volcano, the M23 rebel group control the slopes of the volcano

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Global issues earth hazards revision
and have prevented the volcanoes activity from being measured and rebel
groups have looted observation equipment.
As predictions are hard, the risk is greater as it will be hard to warn of
future eruptions
Nyiragongo is unique as it is a composite volcano that contains a fluid lava
lake. It's proximity to Goma means the potential for disaster is greater.…read more


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