Volcanic hazards: mount Nyriagongo case study

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Volcanic hazards- Mount Nyiragongo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Conflict in the DRC
Civil wars have occurred in the DRC since 1994 when Hutu rebels crossed the
border from Rwanda. The conflict is between 2 warlord militia, the Congolese
army, liberation of Rwanda army and Lord's resistance army. Much of the conflict
is due to anger over the exploitation of the DRC's vast natural resources by
overseas companies, such as coaltan, diamonds and gold, which are used in most
modern technology today. Therefore the native resources in the DRC are not
benefitting the local population which has created poverty and lawlessness. This
then allows several warlords to exploit the local population and vast mineral
Mount Nyiragongo and Goma
Goma is the world's most dangerous city as it is located in the middle of a war zone
where civilians are routinely killed by soldiers and rebels and is also located near
Mount Nyiragongo making it the most volcano threatened city on earth.
Geological background
Large composite volcano near Lake Kiva which has a 1.2km diameter summit
caldera containing the world's most active and largest lava lake.
Known for its fluid lava that runs like water when lava drains from the lake.
The volcano partially overlaps with 2 older volcanoes.
The volcanic activity is caused by the rifting of the earth's crust as 2 parts
of the African plate are breaking apart. A hotspot could be the reason why
the area is so active. The lava is unusually fluid for a composite volcano and
is due to the extremely low silica content which means the lava is alkali rich
and therefore thinner.
Previous eruptions- January 2002
After months of seismic activity a 13km fissure opened up and lava from 35
patter cones at the end of the fissure flowed down towards the city of Goma.
200,000 made homeless
45 deaths from poisonous gases and collapsing buildings
The runway at the airport was damaged leaving 2/3 unusable
For months after the eruption several earthquakes occurred causing more
damage to buildings.
Earthquakes before eruption acted as early warning but few took any

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Goma's industrial infrastructure destroyed.
Many Congolese fled to Rwanda during the eruption but as the authorities
had no warning of this happening they were unprepared for the influx of
refugees leaving many people on the streets.
Many evacuees returned to Goma as it was safer to return than stay in
Aid agencies able to respond quickly as they were already located in the
DRC due to the ongoing conflict and were able to provide shelter and food.…read more


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