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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 9.135°S
  • 33.668°E

  • 2953 m
    9686 ft

  • 222166
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Rungwe.

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

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

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



1250 CE

2953 m / 9686 ft


Volcano Types

Pyroclastic cone(s)
Lava dome

Rock Types

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

Rungwe volcano, the largest in the Karonga basin NW of Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa), is cut by a 4-km-wide caldera that is breached to the WSW. Hummocky terrain from a debris-avalanche deposit produced by collapse of the summit and western flank extends at least 20 km SW of the volcano. The trachytic caldera is largely filled by a series of youthful-looking uneroded and sparsely vegetated pumice cones, lava domes, and explosion craters. The latter are also found on the southern and northern flanks. A large area of basaltic cones and lava flows are found on the NW flank, and youthful-looking lava flows extend SW from vents inside the caldera. Explosive and effusive eruptions were produced during the Holocene; the largest explosive eruption took place about 4000 years ago, and the most recent about about 1200 years ago.


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

Ebinger C J, Deino A L, Drake R E, Tesha A L, 1989. Chronology of volcanism and rift basin propagation: Rungwe volcanic province, East Africa. J Geophys Res, 94: 15,785-15,803.

Fontijn K, Ernst G G J, Elburg M A, Williamson D, Abdallah E, Kwelwa S, Mbede E, Jacobs P, 2010. Holocene explosive eruptions in the Rungwe Volcanic Province, Tanzania . J Volc Geotherm Res, 196: 91-110.

Harkin D A, 1960. The Rungwe volcanics at the northern end of Lake Nyasa. Geol Surv Tanganyika Mem, 2: 1-172.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Eruptive History

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1250 ± 40 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) Kizungu Tephra
0050 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) Isongole Pumice
2050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 5 Tephrochronology Rungwe Pumice

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.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Lusiba Crater
Ndwati Crater
Sama Crater

Photo Gallery

The summit of Rungwe volcano is seen from WNW with the scarp resulting from edifice collapse in the background. At the the left-center is a cone breached by a lava flow towards the S to SW (right). Rungwe volcano is the largest in the Karonga basin NW of Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa) and is capped by a 4-km-wide caldera that is breached to the west. The trachytic caldera is largely filled by a series of youthful-looking uneroded and sparsely vegetated pumice cones, lava domes, and explosion craters.

Photo by Karen Fontijn, 2008 (University of Gent).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

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

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Rungwe 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.