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Report on Nyamulagira (DR Congo) — February 1977


Natural Science Event Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 2 (February 1977)
Managing Editor: David Squires.

Nyamulagira (DR Congo) Additional information about late-December 1976 activity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1977. Report on Nyamulagira (DR Congo) (Squires, D., ed.). Natural Science Event Bulletin, 2:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.NSEB197702-223020


DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The eruption of Nyamuragira began at about 1540 ["about 1200" below] on 23 December, from a new flank crater 8 km SW of the summit. Lava fountains 150-200 m high formed a 70-m spatter cone around the vent. Two lava flows were extruded, one that extended about 3 km to the SW, the other about 1 km to the W. The eruption was continuing as of 31 December.

More than 10 times the normal number of volcanic earthquakes were recorded on 11 December from Lwiro (~l00 km SSW of the volcano), and significantly more than the normal number on 12, 21, and 22 December. The March-May 1971 eruption of Nyamuragira took place at Rugarama, on the NW flank (Pouclet and Villeneuve, 1972) rather than the SW flank or the summit crater as reported elsewhere.

Reference. Pouclet, A., and Villeneuve, M., 1972, L'Eruption du Rugarama (Mars-Mai, 1971) au Volcan Nyamuragira: Bulletin Volcanologique, v. 36, p. 200-221.

Geological Summary. Africa's most active volcano, Nyamulagira (also known as Nyamuragira), is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield about 25 km N of Lake Kivu and 13 km NNW of the steep-sided Nyiragongo volcano. The summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. Documented eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, as well as from the numerous flank fissures and cinder cones. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938, at the time of a major flank eruption. Recent lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit as far as Lake Kivu; extensive lava flows from this volcano have covered 1,500 km2 of the western branch of the East African Rift.

Information Contacts: S. Ueki, Institute de Recherche Scientifiques Afrique Centrale (IRS).