March 22, 2011
National Geographic: The Volcano Next Door
National Geographic writer Michael Finkel has written a special piece about a team of seismologists and their exploration of the Nyiragongo Volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The setting of the report lies in its vivid painting of a team passionate about exploring this volcano, which threatens about a million people who live 12 miles south in the city of Goma.
Finkel describes the efforts taken to gain a better understanding of Nyiragongo and its future impact on the areas that surround it.
Excerpt from the April issue of National Geographic magazine by Michael Finkel:
When? This is the question that has brought two of the world's leading volcano scientists to the center of Africa; it's the question that haunts a team of Congolese seismologists; it's the question that may determine the fate of close to one million people. When will Nyiragongo erupt?
Nyiragongo is a two-mile-high volcano towering over the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)"”one of the most active volcanoes on the planet and also one of the least studied. The chief reason for the lack of research is that for the past 20 years the eastern DRC has seen nearly constant warfare, including a spillover of the massacres in neighboring Rwanda. One of the largest United Nations forces in the world, some 20,000 troops, currently maintains a fragile, and often broken, peace.
At the base of the volcano sprawls the city of Goma, growing by the day as villagers from the countryside seek refuge from rebel and government forces. An estimated million people are now crammed into Goma.
Image 1: The lava at Nyiragongo is made of an alkali-rich volcanic rock; its unusual composition may be a factor in the lava's fluidity. This photo is in the April 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands March 29. Photo Credit: Carsten Peter/National Geographic
Image 2: The April cover of National Geographic magazine. Credit: Ã© National Geographic
On the Net:
- Read the article now: The Volcano Next Door