On Saturday, seismologists in the Democratic Republic of Congo reported 61 earthquakes in a 24-hour period near the Mount Nyiragongo volcano, which erupted a week ago, urging inhabitants to stay away from lava flows.

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(Photo : Getty Images)

Earthquake in Congo

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An earthquake near the Congo-Rwanda border leveled houses in Goma, raising worries that a neighboring volcano will erupt again three days after lava devastated 17 towns and killed hundreds of people.

The tremor, which was registered at 5.3 magnitudes by the Rwandan Seismic Monitor, was the strongest of more than 100 that have occurred since Congo's Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted on Saturday, one of the world's most active and hazardous volcanoes.

Several hundred meters (yards) long fissures in the ground have appeared in Goma in the last day, cutting across the city's main boulevards.

Related Article: What Exactly Causes Mysterious Deep Earth Earthquakes?

Reports from the GVO

The information was revealed in a daily report created by the Goma Volcanic Observatory (GVO) for the government, which CNN obtained. The crater of the volcano "continues to collapse," according to the report, "contributing to the earthquake and causing ash plumes visible from Goma."

Volcanic Activity

Nyiragongo volcano
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

The 11,500-foot-high volcano is around 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Goma, a city with an official population of 670,000 people, while numerous non-governmental organizations estimate it to be closer to one million.

Around 400,000 people have evacuated the city, according to a regional government spokeswoman, as officials warned of a second eruption. Last Saturday, the first blast killed at least 31 individuals.

Since then, the region has been shaken by a succession of earthquakes and tremors, some of which have been felt as far away as Kigali, Rwanda's capital, almost 100 kilometers from the volcano in the Virunga National Park. Lava flows, according to the research, "may cause asphyxiation, serious burns, or death."

Related Article: Eruption of Congo's Mount Nyiragongo Leaves At Least 15 Dead, Thousands Displaced

Future Possibilities

Congo Volcano
(Photo : Justin Kabumba from AP )

It outlined four possibilities, the best of which is that the tremors stop and a second eruption does not occur. However, it cautioned that if magma continued to travel through a crack toward Lake Kivu, there was a risk of a limnic eruption, in which magma erupted underneath the lake, sending debris flying and releasing poisonous gas. It's possible that this is the worst-case situation.

"Keep a safe distance away if lava erupts in the Kivu River," the report said, "since the explosions might create lethal ballistics."

The deep waters of the lake might be destabilized by a volcanic eruption, landslide, or significant earthquake, releasing dissolved gases.

Because of the rise in subterranean magma volume, gas releases are projected to grow more frequent in the following months. The research warned that fissures might discharge dangerous gas quantities, encouraging residents to stay away and supervise youngsters in low-lying regions.

People should use caution while drinking or washing vegetables since tanks may have been polluted by volcanic ash, according to the study.

Also Read: Why is Mount Nyiragongo One of Africa's Most Dangerous Volcanoes

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