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Report on Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — 20 February-26 February 2002

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 February-26 February 2002
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2002. Report on Nyamuragira (DR Congo). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 February-26 February 2002. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (20 February-26 February 2002)


DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

According to news articles, a team of volcanologists from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Goma Volcanological Observatory stated that seismicity dramatically increased at Nyamuragira about 25 February. In a statement released to UN headquarters the team of volcanologists said they expect Nyamuragira to erupt within the next several days or weeks. They added that the population near the volcano should not be worried by the warning. Dario Tedesco, a UN volcanology consultant, expressed concerns that seismic activity near Lake Kivu could upset the balanced layers of carbon dioxide and methane in the bottom of the lake, leading to the release of toxic gases. Nyamuragira is ~13 km NW of Nyiragongo and ~30 km NW of the city of Goma, which was devastated by lava flows from Nyiragongo in January 2002. Nyamuragira last erupted in February 2001.

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: Reuters, Associated Press