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Report on Nyamulagira (DR Congo) — July 1986


Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 11, no. 7 (July 1986)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Nyamulagira (DR Congo) Reported S-flank eruption

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1986. Report on Nyamulagira (DR Congo) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 11:7. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198607-223020


DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An eruption began on 16 July at 1500 [but see 11:8] from a fissure near the 1976 eruption site of Harakandi, on the SSW flank at ~2,200 m elevation. High lava fountains produced a lava flow to the SW. By 18 July, lava fountains were still 200 m high, and at the end of one week, the lava flow had extended 10 km SW toward Lake Sake, before ponding and spreading. Degassing was abnormally high from the two vents formed on the eruptive fissure, compared to previous eruptions. Inspection of 11-20 July satellite imagery did not reveal an eruption plume, but heavy weather clouds obscured the area.

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: M. Krafft and K. Krafft, Cernay, France; W. Gould, NOAA.