Tanzania is creating its first geopark and this maiden geology-based tourism and scientific site is likely to open with the anticipated exploding of the “Lengai” Volcano.
The Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark, earmarked to cover an area of 12,000 square kilometers of rocky hills, lengthy underground caves, lake basins, hominid discovery sites and the active Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano, is going to be another geopark on the continent.
Nickson Nyange, Public Relations Officer with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) said: “We are working to expand the country’s tourism potential by introducing attractions based of land formations, geology, history and geographical features all being packaged under the single entity of the Ngorongoro-Lengai Geopark.”
Nyange said that NCAA is the conservation institution which is behind the project.
The hot and puffing, active volcano and Tanzania’s third highest peak, Ol Doinyo Lengai Mountain will be one of the highlights for the maiden geopark because there are reports that the so-called “Mountain of God” shows signs of eruptions emanating from seismic sensors planted around it.
The volcano, which is located 150 kilometers from Arusha City and surrounded by important paleoanthropological sites, has been experiencing eruptions that are usually confined to its summit though the lava flow can extend to several miles downhill.
Sarah Stamps, a geophysicist at Virginia Tech, recently led a team of local and international researchers to predict the next major eruption. They installed five positioning sensors around Ol Doinyo Lengai and these apparently are sending back signals for impending volcanic activities.
The academics are reporting that, the mountain may erupt in a few weeks’ time and therefore necessary steps need to be taken. However, residents at Enkaresero Village, located at the foot of Lengai say, it is too early to vacate.
“We have lived here for ages,” said Mepukoli Ole Melita. “and when volcano is ripe, people here, including our livestock, can tell!”
Different with national parks, geoparks are supposed to be a unified geographical area which addresses the protection and the use of geological heritage in a sustainable way, while also promoting social and economic well-being of the people residing within the earmarked location for the park.