Loud bangs near a once deadly volcano which has lay dormant for millions of years has fuelled speculation it might erupt.
Mysterious rumblings in Baixada Fluminense near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this month led locals to think the Nova Iguaçu volcano might have re-awakened.
But the idea was quickly rejected by geologists who say there is no longer any possibility of an eruption at the site, which has seen no magmatic activity for millions of years.
Geologist Marcela Lobato told Brazil’s CBN news website: “The volcano of Nova Iguaçu is not dormant – it will not wake up.
“It has existed for many years and the population can rest assured the magmatic activity has already ceased. This happened approximately between 145 million and 65 million years ago.”
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The “volcano” is located in the Mendanha Massif, a mountain range cutting through a large part of Baixada Fluminense.
Lobato said: “It is the product of an erosion process more than 60 million years ago and, in fact, to be classified as a volcanic building, that region, that location, would have to have several elements, several criteria.”
Geologist Carlos Eduardo Mota, who is from Nova Iguaçu, told Brazilian media outlet TV Globo that Iguaçu has a landscape similar to that of Mount Fuji in Japan and Italy’s Mount Etna.
Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, but unlike the Sicilian volcano and those found along the Circle of Fire super active chain which crosses the Pacific, Baixada’s appears calm.
Mota told TV Globo: “This type of volcano that was produced here is called an intraplate. The chance of an eruption occurring here depends on geological time. It could be hundreds of millions of years. Not even the grandchildren of our grandchildren will see it.”
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Locals still want to know what caused the loud noises they heard on two days at the beginning of the month.
Radiology technician Bruno Soares said: “It was a scary bang. We’re not used to it. It was something different.”
Influencer Pâmela Morena was in a tower block in Queimados. She said: “We ran down, my children and I. We stayed down here. The feeling we had was that the building was going to explode.”
She added: “The most important thing is to find out what happened so something worse doesn’t happen and we can remain unharmed. If we don’t know, it can take us by surprise.”
Queimados City Hall said there were rumbles in some areas, which caused windows to shake in parts of the municipality, but there was no damage.
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