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Nyamuragira Volcano,Democratic Republic of the Congo, Volcano photo
Nyamuragira Volcano, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The November 7th, 2011 eruption of Nyamuragira produced a huge column of lava, which surged 400 meters high.


Nyamuragira Volcano, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
In this depiction of the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes, based on data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or Aster, and Landsat, Some lava flows from the 2002-01-17 eruption, shown in red, reach as far as Lake Kivu


Nyamuragira Volcano, Congo, Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield volcano that rises about 25 km north of Lake Kivu, NW of Nyiragongo volcano.

Nyamuragira, also known as Nyamulagira, has a volume of 500 cu km, and extensive lava flows from the volcano blanket 1500 sq km of the western branch of the East African Rift.

The broad low-angle shield volcano contrasts dramatically with its steep-sided neighbor Nyiragongo.

The 3058-m-high summit of Nyamuragira 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, frequently modifying the morphology of the caldera floor, as well as from the numerous fissures and cinder cones on the volcano's 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.

The summit of Nyamuragira volcano is truncated by 2 x 2.3 km wide caldera whose floor is partially covered by unvegetated historical lava flows.

This view from above the SW caldera rim shows a pit crater on the far side of the caldera at the upper left that was the site of a lava lake, active since at least 1921, which drained in 1938 at the time of a major flank eruption.

Africa's most active volcano, 3058-m-high Nyamuragira rises about 25 km north of Lake Kivu NW of Nyiragongo volcano.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
The November 7th, 2011 eruption of Nyamuragira is said to have been the volcano's largest eruption in 100 years.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
Lava fountains from the new cone of Mikombe on the lower NE flank of Zaire's Nyamuragira volcano feed the lava flow in the foreground.

This photo was taken from the SE on September 29, nine days after the start of the eruption. During the first week the new cone, whose name means "many bats," grew to a height of 60-70 m.

Lava flows had traveled 6-7 km NE by the time of this photo. The eruption continued until February 1993, by which time lava flows had traveled 19 km to the NE.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
An eruption from a SSW-flank fissure July 16 to August 20, 1986, produced the Kitazungurwa cinder cone and a lava flow that traveled 19 km down the SW flank.

The lava flow partially overrode SW-flank lavas from the 1976-77 Murara eruption.

On August 18 the eruption changed from continuous lava fountaining to strombolian-type activity.

Crops were destroyed by hot ejecta and 150 cattle died from injestion of ash-covered vegetation.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
The 1986 Kitazungurwa fissure is seen in this 1987 photo.

The south flank eruption produced a cinder cone and a lava flow that traveled 19 km down the SW flank.

The flow reached to within 2 km of the highway along the north shore of Lake Kivu between Goma and Sake.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
A lava flow from the April-August 1989 eruption on the east flank of Nyamuragira is seen in this December 1989 view.

Low levees bank against the side of the cone. People on the cone on the left horizon provide scale.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
Steam rises from Kimanura cinder cone, which was formed during an eruption from April to August 1989 on the east flank of Nyamuragira.

This December 1989 photo looks north across a black lava flow, which traveled about 20 km down the north flank.

The flow diverted around a forested "kipuka" of an older cone (upper right), scorching leaves, but not burning the trees.

The Kimanura vent was the lowest of three that were active in 1989. A small fissure in the summit caldera and another on the upper SE flank also produced lava flows.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
A lava flow from the April-August 1989 eruption banks around a cinder cone in this December 2, 1989 view.

The eruption scorched vegetation on a older cone at the upper left surrounded by the lava.

The 1989 lava flow traveled about 20 km to the north.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira is a massive basaltic shield volcano NW of Nyiragongo volcano.

The summit of the broad volcano is seen here in 1990 from a vent on the upper SE flank.

Lava flows from Nyamuragira cover 1500 sq km of the East African Rift. The 3058-m-high summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km summit caldera.

Historical eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera and from the numerous fissures and cinder cones on the volcano's flanks.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
An eruption began on September 20, 1991 at 1530 m elevation on the NE flank 15 km from the summit.

This was the northernmost historical eruption site of Nyamuragira.

Lava fountaining from the new Mikombe cone is seen here on September 26 (the September 27 date-time stamp is in Japan Standard Time).

Lava flows extended 6-7 km to the NE, cutting the road to Tongo.

The eruption became more explosive on November 20, and by July 1992 had built 26 cinder cones along a NE-trending fissure zone.

The eruption continued until February 8, 1993.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
This Landsat image shows a portion of the East African Rift north of Lake Kivu (bottom), with north to the upper left.

Prominent unvegetated lava flows descend from vents on the summit and flanks of Nyamuragira volcano, some reaching the shores of Lake Kivu.

The forested volcano below and to the right of Nyamuragira is Nyiragongo, its summit crater frequently containing an active lava lake.

Lava flows from flank fissures in 2002 cut across the city of Goma (the light-colored area at the right-hand side of the lake.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
An evening view from the crater rim of Nyiragongo volcano looks across the floor of the East African Rift at Nyamuragira volcano.

The 3058-m-high shield volcano is Africa's most active volcano, producing more than three dozen eruptions since the mid-19th century.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
Barren lava flows from historical eruptions blanket the NW flank of Nyamuragira volcano.

Lava flows issuing from radial fissures surround vegetated kipukas.

Several major NW-flank eruptions of Nyamuragira took place in the late-20th century, producing lava flows that reached as far as about 20 km from the summit caldera.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
Fresh lava flows surround vegetated kipukas on the caldera floor of Nyamuragira volcano in this view from the SW caldera rim.

The 2 x 2.3 km wide caldera has walls about 100 m high.

A prominent scarp in the middle of the caldera floor at the far left is the rim of a partially buried crater.

Historical eruptions have frequently modified the morphology of the caldera floor.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
A fissure (center) cuts the SE caldera rim of Nyamuragira.

Several historical eruptions have occurred from both summit and flank vents and have produced lava flows that covered portions of the caldera floor and traveled long distances down the flanks of the volcano.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
An aerial view of the SE flank of Nyamuragira shows pyroclastic cones, perhaps those formed during an eruption in 2000.

The 2000 eruption began the morning of January 27 from a fissure on the SE flank near the site of the 1989 eruption and included explosive activity and lava effusion.

The eruptive activity spread panic near the eastern Congolese rebel stronghold at Goma, causing refugees to think they were under attack.

Activity diminished by the 31st, but satellite imagery showed thermal fluxes from lava flows on February 10.


Nyamuragira Volcano,Congo ,Democratic Republic of the, Volcano photo
Major humanitarian crises in eastern Africa played out in areas near Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes.

This August 1994 photo of the Kitumba refugee camp shows a Rwandan family living in a lava tube on a flow on the SW flank of Nyamuragira volcano with tarps of other shelters in the densely occupied refugee camp beyond.

Nyiragongo volcano appears on the right skyline.


PHOTO SOURCES: Simon Carn, 2004 (TOMS Volcanic Emissions Group, University of Maryland, Baltimore County),Minoru Kasahara, 1991 (Hokkaido University),D. Meurhaeghe, 1986,Henry-Luc Hody, 1986,1989,1990, (Belgian ambassador),D. Meurhaeghe, 1987,Minoru Kasahara, 1991, 2001, 2004, (Hokkaido University),Simon Carn, TOMS Volcanic Emissions Group, Univ. Maryland, Baltimore County), Jack Lockwood, 1994 (U. S. Geological Survey),courtesy of the Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, used with permission, BBC, NASA.



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