Geo-scientists probe 'drainage' of Rusizi hot springs

Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) has sent a team of geo-scientists to probe the disappearance of hot spring in Rusizi district

The team of seismologists, mining engineers, geologists and geo-physicists will take into account recent seismic and blasting activities in the area.

According to the team leader Jean Claude Ngaruye, Mining Exploration Division Manager at Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, the suspected causes of the hot spring vanishing include recent earthquakes.

He said the earthquake happened around July 13, 2020.

“The tectonic movement that took place in July -that was at high magnitude- might have caused rocks underneath to shake and get separated by earth tremors to the extent of giving hot springs a way to infiltrate underground and disappear on the surface. This means a hot spring tried to seek their way to infiltrate into fractured rocks,” he explained.

However, he said the team was sent to probe and write a report. He added that blasting might not be the cause adding that there was an earthquake in Lake Tanganyika on 24 August.

Ngaruye explained that the area with hot springs in Rusizi is on the same level of Lake Tanganyika which means that underneath movement in Tanganyika may affect Rusizi.

“The area is on the level of other lakes in the region and any earth tremors affect the whole chain,” he added.

He said it is possible that hot springs might rise again depending on underneath movements.

Tectonically, the area is located in the Bugarama-Tanganyika Rift of the Western Branch of the East African Rift system (EARS), at about 500 m below the level of Lake Kivu basin.