Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Volcanic eruption of Mount Karthala has ended

MORONI, April 23 (AFP) - The week-long eruption of Mount Karthala on the main island in the Indian Ocean Comoros archipelago, is over, experts said Saturday, but they did not rule out the possibility of further eruptions.

"The eruption of April 16 is over," Hamidou Nassor, a vulcanologist from the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, told a press conference in Moroni. But "we do not totally exclude the possibility of an eruption in the coming weeks, months or year."

He recommended maintaining for several more days the alert warning currently in place on the island of Grand Comore.

Following the eruption which started last weekend, hundreds of villagers at the foot of the 2,361-meter (7,746-foot) volcano fled their homes for fear of molten lava -- although none actually flowed outside the crater.

The volcano's last magma eruption was in 1977, when molten lava destroyed the village of Singani, some 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Moroni and toxic gas was released into the air but caused no deaths.

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