The Democratic Republic of Congo has reported 61 earthquakes in a 24-hour period on Saturday May 29.
Seismologists say the earthquake was as a result of volcanic eruptions around the Mount Nyiragongo volcano, which erupted a week ago.
The 11,500-foot-high volcano sits around 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Goma, a city with an estimated population of 670,000.
In a daily report prepared for the DRC government by the Goma Volcanic Observatory (GVO) it was revealed that the volcano’s crater “continues to collapse, which contributed to the earthquake and caused ash emissions visible from Goma.”
According to the DRC government, around 400,000 people had fled the city as officials warned of a second eruption.
The report warned that lava flows “can cause asphyxiation, severe burns or death.”
The report laid out four possible scenarios, the best case being that the earthquakes stop and that no second eruption occurs.
In another possible scenario, the report warned that as magma continued to move through a fissure toward Lake Kivu, there was a possibility of a limnic eruption, where an eruption under the lake could cause it to send debris flying and emit toxic gas. That could be a worst-case scenario.
“If lava erupts in the Kivu River, keep a considerable distance away, as the explosions could produce dangerous ballistics,” the report said.
“Fissures could release lethal concentrations of gases”, the report said, urging people to stay away and supervise children in low-lying areas.
The report added that people should take precautions in using water for drinking and washing vegetables as volcanic ash may have contaminated tanks.