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Study of Multi-Origin Hazards and Assessment of Associated Risks in the Lefo Caldera (Bamenda Volcano, Cameroon Line)

DOI: 10.4236/ijg.2014.511107, PP. 1300-1314

Keywords: Hazards, Risk, Anthropogenic Activities, Lefo Caldera

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Abstract:

The Bamenda Volcano (BV) (2621 m) is a stratovolcano situated in the Cameroon Line (CL). BV includes Mount Lefo (2534 m) which is situated on its southern slopes and contains one elliptical caldera (3 × 4 km). This caldera is propitious to farming and breeding activity. Despite these profitable assets, Lefo caldera (LC) is an amphitheater of the occurrence of multi-origin hazards that have direct or indirect impacts on the biodiversity and human patrimony. The most present hazards are those of meteorological origin. Numerous combined factors (steepest slopes, heavy rainfalls, weathered state of volcanic products…) rule these hazards. These factors gave rise to the occurrence of landslides, gullies erosion and rock falls which occur precisely on caldera northern and eastern rims. Hazards of anthropogenic origin are based on the destruction of the vegetation cover by the population for dealing, firewood and building issues. Moreover, during the breeding activity, the cattle covers the caldera throughout the day; this unevens the topography and destroys the meadow. Hazards of volcanological origin are not yet occurring in LC; but the recent Lake Monoun (1984) and Nyos (1986) CO2 eruptions, mount Cameroon eruptions (1999 and 2000) and mount Oku Lake event (2011) which are close to the BV and, the age of 0 Myr of basalt, constitutes a subject of controversy toward the reactivation of the Cameroonian hotspot faults. The assessment of risks in LC was based on the average income of breeding activity and house investment. The economy of LC is valued at about US$527472.527. The level of such risk will be important in case of loss of human beings and the destruction of geomorphosites’ values. In order to reduce the level of looses in this zone, hazard and risks maps are provided in this paper as well as some recommendations.

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