Truth About Volcanic Eruption On Mt Longonot

A netizen shared a video online claiming that there was lava coming from the mountain

Truth About Volcanic Eruption On Mt Longonot
Smoke coming from Mt Longonot. /TWITTER

Reports emerged on Thursday night, October 27 of a volcanic eruption at the famous Mt Longonot along the Great Rift Valley, southeast of Lake Naivasha in Nakuru County.

A netizen shared a video online claiming that there was lava coming from the mountain, which is a dormant volcano thought to have last erupted in the 1860s.

Additionally, the lava was alleged to have started wildfires coupled with high-temperature levels.

Mt Longonot. /FILE

“I'm here at Maai Mahiu and I'm seeing a live scene of the Mt Longonot eruption. Temperature levels around are high. Wildfires due to drought also start from lava,” the netizen claimed.

This sparked a frenzy with many netizens made to believe that Mt Longonot had finally erupted after many years of inactivity.

However, a correspondent who spoke to Viral Tea denied claims of an eruption at the mountain, stating that it was just a wildfire that started around the area.

"It's a wildfire. Plus this is something geologists at KenGen would have picked first because they monitor the tectonic activities as they mine geothermal power," the correspondent told Viral Tea.

Former Citizen TV reporter, Enock Sikolia, who is now attached to CGTN Africa, further denied the claims, stating that the fire started earlier in the day and had further escalated into the night.

“I am along Mai Mahiu road and I can see the forest around Mt. Longonot on fire.

"I was just filming my own stuff along Mai Mahiu Rd when my cameras captured fire razing the forest along Mt. Longonot. Started small from the bottom up as smoke bellowed. It started around 2 pm, I am not an expert but I think it was just wildfire that kept escalating," he wrote on Twitter.

Longonot is a stratovolcano which contains a large 8 x 12 km caldera formed by vast eruptions of trachytic lava some 21,000 years ago. The current summit cone was developed within the earlier caldera, a cone capped by a 1.8 km crater.

The mountain has several parasitic cones and effusive lava eruptions occur on the flanks and within the caldera floor. Periodic geodetic activity recorded at Longonot in 2004–2006 demonstrated the presence of active magmatic systems beneath this volcano.

On Tuesday night, September 28, 2021, the mountain area was engulfed in flames, with efforts to put it out proving difficult, according to Hells Gate National Park, Senior Warden Francis Muchiri, as it destroyed vegetation on the mountain.

Mt Longonot is a tourist attraction in Kenya due to the vast number of bird species that are found in the area. In 2009, a fire sent wild animals fleeing with residents suspecting at the time that the fire was started by illegal charcoal burners.

Fires are common around Longonot, and in other parts of the country during the dry season.

A file image of a mountain on fire. /FACEBOOK