Thursday, April 20, 2006

Volcano erupts in Northern Tanzania

A volcano in northern Tanzania - known to locals as "the mountain of God" - has erupted, forcing about 3 000 people to flee clouds of ash, but luckily caused no deaths or serious injuries.

Oldonyo Lengai mountain erupted recently, said Emmanuel Chausi, an official with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority.

The mountain, which is shaped like a perfect cone with no trees in the middle of the savanna, is located just outside the conservation area and about 160km west of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak.

"Luckily there are no injuries or deaths," he told reporters on Tuesday, adding that both eruptions took place at night.

Oldonyo Lengai is the only remaining active volcanic mountain in Tanzania and its last significant eruption was in 1983, though the inside of the crater is active year-round.

The Maasai tribe believe their deity resides on top of the mountain in the African Rift Valley.

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