Mount Karthala

Mount Karthala or Karthola (Arabic: القرطالةAl Qirṭālah) is an active volcano and the highest point of the Comoros at 2,361 m (7,746 ft) above sea level. It is the southernmost and larger of the two shield volcanoes forming Grande Comore island, the largest island in the nation of Comoros. The Karthala volcano is very active, having erupted more than 20 times since the 19th century. Frequent eruptions have shaped the volcano's 3 km by 4 km summit caldera, but the island has largely escaped broad destruction. Eruptions on April 17, 2005 and May 29, 2006 ended a period of quiet.

Mount Karthala
Karthala volcano-Comoros.jpg
Karthala volcano crater in November 2006
Highest point
Elevation2,361 m (7,746 ft)[1]
Prominence2,361 m (7,746 ft)[1]
Country high point
Coordinates11°45′37″S 43°21′11″E / 11.76028°S 43.35306°E / -11.76028; 43.35306Coordinates: 11°45′37″S 43°21′11″E / 11.76028°S 43.35306°E / -11.76028; 43.35306[2]
Mount Karthala is located in Comoros
Mount Karthala
Mount Karthala
IslandGrande Comore
Mountain typeShield volcano (active)
Last eruptionJanuary 2007
Official nameLe Karthala
Designated12 November 2006
Reference no.1649[3]

Volcanic activityEdit

Satellite image of the volcano after its November 2005 eruption, with ash obscuring the archipelago

April 2005 eruptionEdit

The eruption, which carried a risk of lava flows and deadly volcanic gas, caused the evacuation of 30,000 residents. The crater was clearly changed by the eruption. A grey field of ash surrounds the crater and the caldera itself seems larger and deeper. The crater lake, which formed after Karthala's last eruption in 1991 and once dominated the caldera, is now gone completely. In its place were rough, dark grey rocks, possibly cooling lava or rubble from the collapsed crater.

May 2006 activityEdit

On May 29, Reuters reported that residents of Moroni could see lava spewing at the top of the volcano.[4] Within a few days the volcanic activity subsided.

Flora and faunaEdit

The mountain is covered by moist evergreen forest up to about 1800 metres above sea-level. Higher up the vegetation consists of stunted trees and heathland where the giant heather Erica comorensis grows. The mountain's forest is threatened by logging and the spread of agriculture. Many of the species found on the mountain are unique to the Comoros and four bird species are found only on the slopes of Mount Karthala: Grand Comoro drongo, Humblot's flycatcher, Karthala scops owl, and Karthala white-eye.

Important Bird AreaEdit

A 14,228 ha (35,160-acre) tract encompassing the upper slopes and summit of the mountain has been designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International, because it supports populations of Comoros blue pigeons, Comoros fodies, Comoros olive pigeons, Comoros thrushes, Grand Comoro brush warblers, Grand Comoro bulbuls, Grand Comoro drongos, Humblot's flycatchers, Humblot's sunbirds, Karthala scops owls, Karthala white-eyes, and Malagasy harriers.[5]

Karthala National ParkEdit

Karthala National Park
Parc National du Karthala
Coordinates11°46′S 43°21′E / 11.767°S 43.350°E / -11.767; 43.350
Area26,214 ha (101.21 sq mi)
DesignationNational park
AdministratorComoros National Parks Authority
Designated12 November 2006
Reference no.1649[6]

Karthala National Park protects an area of 262.14 km2 on the mountain. It was designated in 2010.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Listed as "Le Kartala" on Retrieved 27 September 2011
  2. ^ Karthala in (cc-by)
  3. ^ "Le Karthala". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Comoros volcano tremors grow stronger, more frequent". Reuters. 21 January 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Karthala Mountains". BirdLife Data Zone. BirdLife International. 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  6. ^ "Le Karthala Ramsar Site". Ramsar Sites Information Service. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  7. ^ UNEP-WCMC (2021). Protected Area Profile for Parc National du Karthala from the World Database of Protected Areas. Accessed 10 August 2021. [1]