Nyiragongo Volcano | John Seach


Democratic Republic of Congo

1.52 S, 29.25 E
summit elevation 3470 m

Nyiragongo volcano is one of the most active in Africa. It is noted for long active lava lakes which appear in the summit crater. Nyiragongo is one of eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. The volcano is located near the town of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nyiragongo volcano photos by John Seach

Nyiragongo volcano lava lake 2011

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Nyiragongo Volcano lava lake 2011

Shaheru, Nyiragongo volcano

nyiragongo volcano
Preparing to climb Nyiragongo volcano, 2008 expedition

nyiragongo volcano security
Armed security and porters, Nyiragongo expedition 2008

Nyiragongo expedition 2008

Nyiragongo expedition June 2011 - John Seach

The summit of the volcano contains a 1 km wide caldera. The summit is 2000 m above the level of Lake Kivu. Two other peaks in the complex are Baruta (3100 m) and Shaheru (2800 m). From 1928 to 1977 there was a long active lava lake in the summit crater. In 1982 there was a lava pond which rapidly cooled. The fissure eruption at the volcano in 1977 was related to regional tectonic activity.

Goma volcano Observatory

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Houses being rebuilt on 2002 lava from Nyiragongo volcano

Nyiragongo vegetation

Nyiragongo vegetation - Gorilla food.

2022 Activity
Eruptions continue at Nyiragongo volcano with lava lake activity at the summit crater.

2021 Eruption
A large eruption occurred at Nyiragongo volcano on 22 May 2021. Ash emissions reached 45,000 ft altitude. Evacuations from the city of Goma. Lava flowed towards Rwanda and din not initially threaten Goma. Status the long-lived lava lake is not certain.
The eruption was accompanied by two earthquakes east of the volcano: a M 4.7 - 19 km NE of Gisenyi, Rwanda and M 4.5 under Gisenyi, Rwanda.

2016 Activity
Active lava lake continues at the summit of Nyiragongo volcano in January 2016.
A second lava lake appeared in the summit crater in March 2016.

2013 Eruptions
Nyiragongo remains active in January 2013 with satellite images showing hotspots over the volcano, and sulphur dioxide plumes. An lava lake remains active in the summit crater.

19th April 2009 Update
An increase in volcanic seismic activity has been detected at Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since January 2009, recurrent seismic swarms have been detected at Rusayo seismic station. The volcanic earthquakes have come mainly from Nyiragongo volcano, which contains an active lava lake. According to a report by scientists from the volcano observatory in Goma the same signs that preceded the 1977 and 2002 eruptions have been identified. The North-Kivu section of the DRCís Red Cross has set up an emergency team to monitor the situation, by updating the contingency plan with regards to volcano eruptions, sensitizing populations and putting logistic means at their disposal, identifying sites for the displaced, and updating the warning system and plan of evacuation of populations. A meeting was organized between Goma and Gisenyi (Rwanda) branches to prepare coordinated operations. Since 7th April, 2009 the DRCís Red Cross, under the coordination of the Federation, has launched joint operations of preparation and monitoring for two months in collaboration with the Red Cross, in order to mitigate the effects of lava flowing to high risk cities. This operation is expected to be implemented over 2 months, and will be completed by 2nd June 2009. The last eruption of the Nyiragongo volcano on 17 January, 2002 caused the displacement of about 400,000 people.

2021 Eruption
A large eruption occurred at Nyiragongo volcano on 22 May 2021. Ash emissions reached 45,000 ft altitude. Evacuations from the city of Goma. Lava flowed towards Rwanda and din not initially threaten Goma. Status the long-lived lava lake is not certain.

2002 Eruption
A major eruption began at Nyiragongo Volcano on Thursday 17th January 2002 with lava flows reaching the city of Goma. The 2002 eruption of Nyiragongo displaced 500,000 people.

Further reading
Barrière, J., d'Oreye, N., Oth, A., Theys, N., Mashagiro, N., Subira, J., Kervyn, F. and Smets, B., 2019. Seismicity and outgassing dynamics of Nyiragongo volcano. Earth and Planetary Science Letters528, p.115821.

Favalli, M., Chirico, G.D., Papale, P., Pareschi, M.T. and Boschi, E., 2009. Lava flow hazard at Nyiragongo volcano, DRC. Bulletin of volcanology71(4), pp.363-374.

Tedesco, D., Vaselli, O., Papale, P., Carn, S.A., Voltaggio, M., Sawyer, G.M., Durieux, J., Kasereka, M. and Tassi, F., 2007. January 2002 volcano‐tectonic eruption of Nyiragongo volcano, Democratic Republic of Congo. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth112(B9).

Demant, A., Lestrade, P., Lubala, R.T., Kampunzu, A.B. and Durieux, J., 1994. Volcanological and petrological evolution of Nyiragongo volcano, Virunga volcanic field, Zaire. Bulletin of Volcanology56(1), pp.47-61.

Hamaguchi, H., Nishimura, T. and Zana, N., 1992. Process of the 1977 Nyiragongo eruption inferred from the analysis of long-period earthquakes and volcanic tremors. Tectonophysics209(1-4), pp.241-254.

Nyiragongo Volcano Eruptions

2007-2024, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1994-96, 1982, 1977, 1927-77, 1920-21, 1918, 1911, 1908?, 1906, 1905, 1902, 1901, 1900, 1899, 1898, 1894, 1891, 1884.†