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Report on Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — December 2003

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 28, no. 12 (December 2003)
Managing Editor: Richard Wunderman.

Nyamuragira (DR Congo) Political instability limits field access; growing seismicity

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Nyamuragira (DR Congo) (Wunderman, R., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 28:12. Smithsonian Institution.


DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

On 15 December 2003, the Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO) reported growing seismicity around Nyamuragira during the past few weeks. Because of political instability, the team lacked access to the field. The seismic observations have been made using the distant seismic network. According to the data they acquired, GVO felt that a new eruption was likely in the next weeks.

Because the volcano is located inside the National Park ~ 40 km NNW of Goma, potential lava flows were not expected to threaten the city. Other areas on the W side of the volcano could be affected by gas and dust clouds or by ash falls.

Geologic Background. Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira, is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield about 25 km N of Lake Kivu. Also known as Nyamulagira, it has generated extensive lava flows that cover 1500 km2 of the western branch of the East African Rift. The broad low-angle shield volcano contrasts dramatically with the adjacent steep-sided Nyiragongo to the SW. The summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. Historical eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, as well as from the numerous fissures and cinder cones on the flanks. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938, at the time of a major flank eruption. Historical lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit, reaching as far as Lake Kivu.

Information Contacts: Baluku Bajope and Kasereka Mahinda, Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma, Departement de Geophysique, Centre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Lwiro, D.S. Bukavu, DR Congo; Jacques Durieux, UN-OCHA resident volcanologist, c/o UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Geneva , Palais des Nations,1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland (URL: http://www.unog.ch).