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The Nyiragongo in March 2004

The Nyiragongo in March 2004

height 3470  m
location Democratic Republic of Congo
Mountain range Virunga volcanoes
Coordinates 1 ° 31 ′ 20 ″  S , 29 ° 15 ′ 0 ″  E Coordinates: 1 ° 31 ′ 20 ″  S , 29 ° 15 ′ 0 ″  E
Nyiragongo (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Type Stratovolcano
Last eruption 2021

The Nyiragongo is a 3470  m high African stratovolcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo . It is one of the eight Virunga volcanoes in the East African Rift Valley . The volcano is located about 20 km north of the city of Goma , which is threatened by eruptions of the volcano, and not far from Gisenyi , which belongs to the neighboring country Rwanda . Lake Kiwu extends southwest of Goma .


Nyamuragira (left) and Nyiragongo (right)
satellite data increased 1.5 times

Nyiragongo is only 13 kilometers away from the Nyamuragira volcano , which last erupted in 2011. A measurement carried out in 2005 showed that the volcano emits up to 70,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per day. The Nyiragongo is one of the sixteen Decade Volcanoes in the world , which are particularly examined and monitored due to their high catastrophe potential.


Lava lake in the Nyiragongo crater (May 2011)

From 1894 to 1977 the Nyiragongo crater was filled with liquid lava. On January 10, 1977, the crater walls collapsed and the lake ran empty in less than an hour. It is believed that 600 people died in the deadliest outbreak to date.

On January 17, 2002, a large volcanic eruption began. A lava flow destroyed several villages and eventually flowed through the city of Goma into Lake Kiwu . At that time Goma had about 250,000 inhabitants. 147 people died and an estimated 500,000 people were evacuated, many of whom remained homeless for a long time.

A lava lake can be seen in the crater of the volcano, which is the largest on earth with a diameter of approx. 200 m. It is about 600 m below the rim of the crater. The level of the lava lake rises and falls, presumably the lake is fed by a mantle diapir . If it reaches a certain height and there are cracks in the crater wall, the lava can flow out and destroy large areas. The volcano has become an important factor for tourism, as it is popular with foreign tourists.

Its penultimate eruption was in 2012. In the fall of 2020, increasing volcanic activity was reported again.

On May 22, 2021, at 7 p.m. local time (6 p.m. UTC ), the Nyiragongo erupted with a lava flow, causing panic in Goma and a mass exodus from the city. Outskirts were destroyed. People are fleeing westwards to higher areas of the city on the one hand, and eastwards to neighboring Rwanda on the other. Rwanda opened the border on the night of 22/23. May 2021. The government began planning to evacuate Goma.

The lava flow killed 15 people in surrounding villages but stalled on May 23, 2021 on the outskirts of Goma.

Nyiragongo as a type locality

Nyiragongo is the type locality for the mineral Andrémeyerite and the southern summit of the Nyiragongo called Mount Saheru is type locality for the minerals Combeit , Delhayelite , Götzenite and Kirschsteinite .

A total of 24 recognized minerals and 14 varieties have been detected at Nyiragongo so far (as of 2014) . In addition to the type minerals already mentioned, these include various apatites and biotites , cordierite , elpasolite , gypsum , hieratite , leucite , magnetite , nepheline , perovskite , sillimanite , spinel and troilite .

Web links

Commons : Nyiragongo  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. UCL Volcano CO2 Group: Nyiragongo ( Memento of 12 January 2013, Internet Archive () english )
  2. International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior: Decade Volcanoes. Retrieved May 23, 2021 .
  3. ^ Volcano Under the City. In: NOVA. PBS, November 1, 2005, accessed September 13, 2017 .
  4. Michael Finkel : Once hell and back. in: National Geographic . June 2011, p. 125
  5. Lava lake rises at dangerous African volcano. On: sciencemag.org from October 13, 2020.
  6. DR Congo's Nyiragongo volcano erupts, triggering panic. In: aljazeera.com. Al Jazeera , May 22, 2021, accessed May 22, 2021 .
  7. Volcano in eastern Congo erupts, triggering panic in Goma. In: reuters.com. Thomson Reuters , May 22, 2021, accessed May 22, 2021 .
  8. tagesschau.de: Volcanic eruption in the Congo: City of Goma escapes catastrophe. Retrieved May 23, 2021 .
  9. DR Congo: Thousands flee after volcanic eruption. orf.at, May 23, 2021, accessed May 23, 2021.
  10. Mount Nyiragongo: DR Congo plans to evacuate city as volcano erupts. In: bbc.com. BBC News, May 23, 2021, accessed May 23, 2021 .
  11. DR Congo: Thousands fled after volcanic eruption. orf.at, May 23, 2021, accessed May 23, 2021
  12. ^ Mineral Atlas : Type locality Nyiragongo volcano, North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  13. Mineral Atlas : Type locality Mt. Saheru, Nyiragongo volcano, North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  14. Mindat - type locality Mt Nyiragongo, Goma, Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre)