Tuesday, June 10, 2008

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Mt. Cameroon

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Mount Cameroon, in the country's southwest corner, is among the most active volcanoes in Africa. Rising 4 095 metres above the nearby Atlantic coast, it has erupted seven times in the last century, most recently in 1999 and 2000. The mountain is home to many rare birds and plants. In addition, there are several small communities near the volcano that are at risk from direct and indirect impact of volcanic activity.

In the 1986 image, a lava flow is visible on the southwest flank of the mountain (yellow arrow), the result of a 1982 eruption. The image from 2000 shows large lava flows left by the 1999 and 2000 eruptions (yellow arrows). Older lava tracks from eruptions prior to 23 January 1959 can also be seen in both images.

The principal vent of the 1999 eruption was at about 1 400 m elevation. It sent a voluminous lava flow estimated at about two kilometres wide and 30 m thick in a south-southwest direction. The flow eventually extended roughly seven kilometres, burning through dense rain forest, industrial palm plantations, and small subsistence farms, and flowing across the important Limbe-Idenau road. The village of Bakingili was evacuated over concerns that the hot lava entering the sea might pose a health threat. In 2000, Mount Cameroon erupted again, with two main lava flows moving down the volcano's southern flank.
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