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Report on Nyamuragira (DR Congo) — 30 December-5 January 2010

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 December-5 January 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2009. Report on Nyamuragira (DR Congo). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 30 December-5 January 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (30 December-5 January 2010)


DR Congo

1.408°S, 29.2°E; summit elev. 3058 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

According to news articles, Nyamuragira erupted on 2 January from a fissure on the SE flank. Park rangers reported hearing a loud explosion in the early morning before seeing flowing lava. By 3 January, the lava flow had traveled 4.6 km, was 15 m wide, and had burned about 10 hectares of forest in a non-populated area of the Virunga National Park.

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: CNN, Agence France-Presse (AFP), UN News Centre, UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)