4.8 QUAKE HITS NORTHERN TANZANIA
After a period of relative calm has seismic activity of late increased again in parts of the region, with Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania registering earth tremors in recent weeks. Only yesterday did a 4.8 on the open ended Richter Scale hit the Manyara region, felt too as far as Arusha, where as a precautionary measure an EAC ministerial summit was told to evacuate their meeting room in the International Conference Centre.
An active volcano, Ol Donyo Lengai, has in beginning in 2007/8 started to emit steam and ash clouds on a more visible scale again and has been the source of a series of earth tremors felt in much of the region before a minor eruption then ended the quakes until very recently. However, in Eastern Congo, hovering above the city of Goma, another volcano, Mt. Nyiragongo, is getting increasingly more active again with a lake of liquid lava bubbling inside the crater. There the last major eruption had lava flow across sections of Goma, including the airport, before eventually reaching Lake Kivu and coming to a standstill when the crater ‘lake’ had emptied itself and the eruption ceased.
The Great Rift Valley, which extends from the Red Sea across Eastern Africa all the way to Malawi, has a series of dormant volcanoes, including in our region Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Meru and Mt. Kenya, none of which has shows signs of returning to active status though, while the ‘lesser’ volcanoes like Mt. Ol Donyo Lengai and the Congolese Mt. Nyiragongo are showing signs that not all is well deep underground.
The Goma volcano story was reported here a while ago, as were developments in Djibouti and Ethiopia, where a series of tremors and minor eruptions have lent credence to scientific projections that a new ‘tear’ was developing under the Red Sea into the African mainland, which will eventually rip open in a major seismic event, likely to create another similar ocean branch into the continent as is the Red Sea itself.
Meanwhile though have nerves in Arusha and the Manyara region been calmed again following assurances by government agencies that the quake, which incidentally caused little damage as per reports at hand right now, was a one off.
Well, time will tell what Mother Nature still keeps in store for us here in East Africa.