Nyiragongo Volcano Eruptions | John Seach
Democratic Republic of Congo

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.

2020 Activity
Lava lake activity continues at the summit of Nyiragongo volcano in 2020.

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.

2002 Eruption
A fissure eruption began at Nyiragongo volcano on 17th January 2002. Multiple lava flows entered the town of Goma, 18 km south of the volcano. A system of fractures opened up on the volcano and extended down to Lake Kivu. 147 people were killed, 60,000 people lost homes, and up to 500,000 were evacuated. Lava flows reached Lake Kivu. Draining of lava from the eruption caused a 600 m collapse of the inner crater. 100 earthquakes greater than magnitude 3.5 were recorded near the volcano, beginning 9 hours after the eruption. The earthquakes were measured on instruments as far away as China and the South Pole, Antarctica. Earthquakes were felt by residents of Kigali, Rwanda. On October 24, 2002 a magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit 56 km SW of Nyiragongo volcano. This was the largest earthquake in the region in 30 years.
Full description of 2002 eruption...

Lava lake reformed in crater after 11 years of inactivity. Stamp issued in 1989 showed activity.

Lava lake activity resumed at summit on 7th July, following lava fountaining in the crater 12 days earlier.

Long active lava lake. On 10th January 1977 the lava lake began to drain through a series of flank fissures. The lava flowed at a record speed of 60 km/hr. The lava flows were mostly pahoehoe, but changed to aa near the end. About 70 people were killed and 800 left homeless. Five days before the eruption, the lava lake had risen to its highest recorded level. The lava lake took only seven hours to drain.
Description of 1977 eruption...

Lava lake activity in the summit crater.

Lava lake activity in the summit crater.

Lava lake activity in the summit crater.

First recorded lava lake at Nyiragongo.

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