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Report on Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — 7 March-13 March 2001

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 March-13 March 2001
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2001. Report on Nyamuragira (DR Congo). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 7 March-13 March 2001. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (7 March-13 March 2001)


DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The eruption at Nyamuragira that began on 5 February continued, with lava flows mainly travelling down the S flank of the volcano. The UN Integrated Regional Information Network reported on 27 February that a UN-government assessment team that visited the town of Goma, ~40 km S of the volcano, determined that ash and lava from the eruption had damaged agriculture and livestock. The team warned that there was an urgent need for food, medicine, and vegetable seeds in the affected areas of Goma, Kitshanga, and Kalungu. According to the Goma Volcanological Observatory, a new eruption began on 2 March with eruptive activity concentrated mainly on the S flank. The Observatory stated that wind had blown ash towards the W and ash fall had destroyed ~50 km2 of pasture and 150 km2 of crops up to 30 km from the volcano in the towns of Rusaya, Kirolirwe, Burungu, Minova, the Masisi territory, and the S part of Kichanga. Ash and gas from the eruption have caused many people in those areas and Goma to experience fever, diarrhea, headache, conjunctivitis, and respiratory problems.

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.

Sources: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG), IRIN News, Reuters