History of Nyiragongo

Mountain Nyiragongo is a volcanic mountain located in the Democratic republic of Congo. This is the most active volcano of the Virunga Mountains. There has been little scientific monitoring of this mountain due to the unfavorable political environment in the DRC for along time.

In the recent times, this volcano has erupted two times and there has been devastating effects to the people around it due to poor monitoring. Nyiragongo’s lava lake is found at a maximum elevation of 3250m (pre-disaster), inside a 3465m tall stratovolcano; the lake is about 600m deep and has one of the most fluid lava in the world.

The lava from an erupting volcano is not usually so dangerous as it travel at a slow sped of about 1 to 10km/hr. When an eruption occurs, residents have a chance to out compete the speed of the lava and escape. The lava in Nyiragongo is completely different because it is highly fluid and flows at about 97km/hr.

In the early 1997, there was an eruption and within just 30 mins the entire lava lake had been drained. This unpredictable nature of Nyiragongo volcano is the reason why more study has to be done to control the unpredictability.

There were about 5 million cubic meters of lava to the north, south and west of the mountain and about 300 people were killed. Within just 20 minutes of the eruption, the lava had already reached the nearby town of Goma according to eye witnesses.

Mount Nyiragongo is attached to the great East African Rift Valley and is one of the Virunga Massif. It lies in the Congo, close to the border with Rwanda (Goma – Gisenyi Border). Nyiragongo is in Virunga National Park and is of Africa’s most active volcanoes.

Most Recent Eruptions Recorded: 1884, 1894, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1905, 1906, 1908(?), 1911, 1918, 1920-21, 1927-77, 1977, 1982, 1994-96, 2002.

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