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Red Sea volcano erupts again

A map of Yemen and the surrounding region highlighting Jabal al-Tair in the Red Sea.
(Google Maps)

A volcano on a small uninhabited island in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen erupted again on 3 December after previously erupting on 30 September 2007.

No-one has been injured and there is no obvious threat to the environment following the eruption on Yemen’s Jabal al-Tair island, Yemeni officials have said.

Abdul-Jalil al-Salahi, an official at the Ministry of Oil’s Geological Survey Authority (GSA), told IRIN on 4 December the eruption occurred after seismic activities in the area over the past two days. “The eruption took place naturally. It is no danger,” he said.

Mohammed al-Qadasi, a professor of volcanoes and geology, told IRIN the volcano has been active since it erupted on 30 September 2007, adding that there have been occasional lava flows. “The eruptions will continue for a long time until the lava in the ground finishes,” he said, adding that it was not clear when the eruptions would subside.

Al-Qadasi said this eruption occurred due to fissures that appeared on the island after the previous eruption. “The fissures made it easy for the new eruption to occur,” he said, adding that this kind of volcano does not cool off quickly and may well involve a series of eruptions.

“This volcano doesn’t pose a threat to neighbouring islands,” he said.

The 30 September eruption led to the deaths of nine people and 47 others were slightly injured.

Jabal al-Tair (Bird Mountain) island is about 3km long, covers an area of 3.9sqkm, and its highest peak is 1,200 metres. It lies about 100km off the nearest Yemeni coast and, according to geologists, is in a volcanically active part of the Red Sea.

There have been several previous eruptions of the volcano, including a possible one in 1332, and others in the 18th and 19th centuries. The last time the island witnessed a strong volcanic eruption was in 1883.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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