Local Volcano in Tanzania Set to Become a Geo-Park

Tanzania will soon join the international 'Geo-parks' network, thanks to the latest proposal by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to declare the country's active volcano site a global geological heritage.

Oldoinyo L'engai, the active volcanic mountain which is the country's third highest mountain after Mt Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, is in the process of being declared a geo-park, becoming a unified area with geological heritage of international significance.

Located in the leeward side of Ngorongoro district near Enkare-Sero village and elevating to 3,190 metres above sea level, Oldoinyo L'engai, which translate into 'the mountain of God' in the Maasai language, is a site of frequent volcanic activity, including major eruptions, some resulting in drastic effects.

Unesco has proposed that Oldoinyo L'engai be included on the list of global geo-parks, which should be kudos for Tanzania as far as the country's tourism, conservation and geological values are concerned,' revealed the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA). NCAA will be working with Unesco to ensure that the world heritage status is achieved by the country through its third highest peak located in the Gregory rift, coincidentally adjacent to the legendary Lake Natron, a Ramsar Wetlands site of international importance.

Unesco applies the 'geopark' heritage status in raising awareness on key issues facing the society, in the context of the dynamic earth planet, where geological hazards such as volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis are concerned.

A geo-park such as Mount L'engai will be serving the role of a 'world alarm clock' to help prepare disaster mitigation strategies among local communities, so that they keep record of past climate change patterns and can act as indicators for current climate change as well as adopt a best practice approach to utilising renewable energy and employing the best standards of 'green tourism.'

Oldoinyo L'engai, with its periodical boiling lava and flying rocks, is the epicentre of tremors, quakes and volcanic activity for the East and Central African region.

The mountain has exploded nearly 20 times in recent years, the latest being in 2008.

Tourism industry promotion in the geo-park perspective will be executed under a geographically sustainable and applicable tourism model, will on the other hand help to sustain or even enhance, the geographical character of the mountain and this may further boost the Northern Circuit which, at the moment, gets 90 per cent of the total number of tourists (one million) visiting Tanzania annually.

Source: AllAfrica