Tanzania volcano eruption could create new tourism attraction

The Ol Doingyo Lengai volcano in Tanzania has been slowly rumbling, showing signs of an imminent eruption, which will create the first ever Geopark in the sub-Saharan African region.

The Geopark, a unified area that advances the protection and use of geological heritage in a sustainable manner, will aid the country’s tourism potential.

Public Relations Officer of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, Nickson Nyange, was quoted by Bizcommunity saying: “We are working to expand the country’s tourism potential by introducing attractions based on land formations, geology, history, and geographical features, all being packaged under the single entity of Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark.”

The maiden geology-based tourism and scientific site, likely to soon rupture is the first ever sub-Saharan Geopark project, initiated by Unesco and funded by the European Union, according to Joshua Mwankunda, the Acting Manager of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Cultural Heritage Department.

The Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark, which is earmarked to cover 12 000 square kilometres, is set to be the second Geopark concept on the continent, following the one in Morocco. However, the northern Tanzanian one will be the first south of the Sahara.

The volcano, dubbed the Mountain of God by the Maasai, is the only known active volcano that emits lava rich with a type of rock called carbonatite.

The rupture, however, may threaten important paleoanthropological sites close to Arusha, which is around 150 kilometres away, as the lava flow can extend several kilometres downhill.

Dr. Sarah Stamps, a geophysicist at Virginia Tech, recently led a team of international and local researchers to assist in the prediction of the next major eruption, installing five positioning sensors around the volcano to assist in sending back signals for impeding volcanic activities, according to Bizcommunity.

Published: 24 Jul 2017
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