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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 3.25°S
  • 36.75°E

  • 4565 m
    14973 ft

  • 222160
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Meru.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Meru.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Meru.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



1910 CE

4565 m / 14973 ft


Volcano Types

Pyroclastic cone
Lava dome

Rock Types

Phono-tephrite / Tephri-phonolite
Trachyte / Trachyandesite
Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

Meru volcano, Africa's fourth highest mountain, is dwarfed by neighboring Kilimanjaro volcano, but is an impressive peak in its own right. Seen from the west, Meru has a conical profile, but it contains a 5-km-wide breached caldera on the east side that formed about 7800 years ago when the summit of the volcano collapsed. Associated massive debris avalanches and lahars traveled as far as the western flank of Kilimanjaro volcano. Parasitic cones and lava domes are located on all sides; a maar field is present on the lower north flank. The historically active Ash Cone forms a prominent symmetrical cone inside the breached caldera. A second vent between it and the caldera headwall has fed lava flows that cover much of the caldera floor.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Cattermole P, 1982. Meru - A rift valley giant. Volcano News, 11: 1-3.

Katsui Y (ed), 1971. List of the World Active Volcanoes. Volc Soc Japan draft ms, (limited circulation), 160 p.

Richard J J, Neumann van Padang M, 1957. Africa and the Red Sea. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI 4: 1-118.

Wilkinson P, Mitchell J G, Cattermole P J, Downie C, 1986. Volcanic chronology of the Meru-Kilimanjaro region, northern Tanzania. J Geol Soc London, 143: 601-605.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1910 Oct 26 1910 Dec 22 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Ash Cone
1886 (?) Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations Dome NW of Ash Cone
1878 ± 1 years Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations Dome NW of Ash Cone
5850 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (uncorrected) Meru caldera

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Orok, Oldoinyo | Black Mountain


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Ash Cone
    Merker Kegel
Cone 3669 m 3° 14' 0" S 36° 46' 0" E
Great Domberg Hill Cone 1551 m 3° 21' 0" S 36° 57' 0" E
Little Meru Stratovolcano 3795 m 3° 13' 0" S 36° 47' 0" E
Matuffa Crater Cone - Crater 3° 21' 0" S 36° 59' 0" E
Ngurdoto Crater Cone - Crater 1853 m 3° 17' 0" S 36° 56' 0" E
Sambu, Oldonyo Cone 3° 10' 0" S 36° 39' 0" E


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Bastioni Hill Dome 3° 17' 0" S 36° 53' 0" E
Burlow Hill Dome 3° 16' 0" S 36° 49' 0" E
Button Hill Dome 3° 10' 0" S 36° 43' 0" E
Naigonesoit Dome 3° 9' 0" S 36° 44' 0" E
Songe Dome 2109 m 3° 9' 0" S 36° 47' 0" E
Tululusia Dome 3° 14' 0" S 36° 50' 0" E

Photo Gallery

Meru volcano (upper right), Africa's fourth highest mountain, is seen from the ice-covered summit plateau of neighboring Kilimanjaro volcano. The 4565-m-high Meru stratovolcano is cut by a 5-km-wide breached caldera on the east side that formed about 7800 years ago when the summit of the volcano collapsed. A massive debris avalanche and lahar traveled to the east as far as the western flank of Kilimanjaro volcano.

Photo by Tom Jorstad, 1991 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Meru in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Meru Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.