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The Sciences

New Fissure Eruption at the Congo's Nyamuragira

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The ever-active Nyamuragira in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has had another eruption - this time a flank eruption that appears to be a fissure vent. Nyamuragira is a shield volcano to the north of its more famous neighbor Nyiragongo. The blog for the Virunga National Park has some excellent images of the eruption (see below), along with video that shows the fissure vent and the curtain of fire associated with this flank eruption. The eruption has produced a small steam and sulfur dioxide plume from the eruption, seen clearly in Terra imagery, in the Aqua imagery that shows the heat from the fissure or in the OMI sulfur dioxide data (see below).

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I am, as always, amused by some of the coverage for this event. Nyamuragira is an active volcano, with eruptions in 2010, 2006, 2004, 2002 and 2001 - and that is just in the past decade. National Geographic called it a "monstrous eruption" - and by all means, it was impressive, especially at night, but in the grand scheme of volcanic activity, it was fairly small. (Oh yes, and in their slide show, they also sneak in an image of the 2006 eruption of Nyamuragira, but at least they make that clear). Right now, the eruption poses no threat to people (French) due to its remote location. However, remember that previous eruptions from Nyamuragira has threatened endangered gorillas in the Virunga National Park.

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