The volcano erupted last Saturday and killed 31 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo

By Jason Duaine Hahn
May 31, 2021 04:32 PM
Mount Nyiragongo
Credit: Justin Kabumba/AP/Shutterstock

A volcano that erupted earlier this month experienced more activity over the weekend as scientists recorded dozens of earthquakes and tremors throughout a 24-hour period.

Mount Nyiragongo volcano, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, erupted on May 23, killing 31 people and sparking an evacuation in the nearby city of Goma, CNN and BBC reported. Nyiragongo, one of the world's most active volcanoes, had last erupted in 2002, and the incident left 250 dead and 120,000 without homes, according to BBC.

A week after its latest eruption, scientists have recorded 92 earthquakes and tremors at the volcano, CNN noted.

Some of the quakes were felt at least 65 miles away in Kigali, the Rwandan capital.

"There were 92 earthquakes and tremors in the last 24 hours," Constant Ndima, the military governor of North Kivu, told the outlet. "Only 4 were felt by humans, the rest were only picked up by instruments."

Mount Nyiragongo
Credit: MOSES SAWASAWA/AFP via Getty

Dario Tedesco, a volcanologist, said the recent activity is being caused by "a rift in the regional faults." He believes the gray ash seen coming out of the volcano in recent days is caused by Nyiragongo's crater floor collapsing.

"The top that was frozen is now going down," he told CNN. "It's gently, not violently, going in. It's nothing to worry about."

Tedesco, who has studied Nyiragongo for over two decades, said he cannot rule out the possibility of another eruption in coming days, and urged caution for Goma residents looking to return home.

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An additional BBC report said scientists are worried about underground magma that has been moving toward Lake Kivu, located near Nyiragongo on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.

They believe a rare eruption could release a lethal cloud of gas that could threaten Goma's population.

"There's a magma under the ground here in town that could erupt at any moment apparently," a resident told the outlet. "It's quite scary."

Scientists are unsure of the possibility such an event, but remain on alert.

"The best that anyone can do at the moment is be really cautious," volcanologist Robin George Andrews told BBC. "I'm really glad to see that areas are being evacuated just in case the worst happens."