Nyamulagira

This text is an updated version of the page dedicated to Nyamulagira on the GORISK website.

Nyamulagira (or Nyamuragira, 3058 m a.s.l.) is a shield volcano located in the western end of the Virunga volcanic province (North Kivu, D.R. Congo), in the rift depression. Its summit is shaped by a 2 x 2.3 km caldera. More than 100 adventive cones are scattered along its flanks and in the lava plain at its base.

Nyamulagira volcano observed from the 2011-2012 eruptive fissure. March, 2012

Nyamulagira volcano observed from the 2011-2012 eruptive fissure.
March, 2012

Nyamulagira erupted at least 40 times since the late 19th century, with an increase in eruption frequency in the last 30 years. These eruptions are characterized by lava fountains building up a pyroclastic cone around the vent, long lava flows able to reach tens of kilometers, together with the emission of very large amounts of SO2. Most eruptions take place along a NNW-SSE fracture network that crosses the main edifice.

In April 2014 and from 23rd June to mid-September 2014, lava fountains appeared in the pit crater located in the NE part of the Nyamulagira’s main caldera (see Smets et al., 2014). On 1st November 2014, this activity resumed in the form of a small lava lake. Since that, the eruptive activity of Nyamulagira is only characterized by the presence of this lava lake.

Fire fountains observed in the pit crater located in the NE part of the Nyamulagira caldera, on 1st July 2014. Photo (c) B. Smets

Fire fountains observed in the pit crater located in the NE part of the Nyamulagira caldera, on 1st July 2014.
Photo (c) B. Smets, 2014

Selection of scientific publications

  • Pouclet, A., 1976. Volcanologie du rift de l’Afrique Centrale. Le Nyamulagira dans les Virunga : Essai de magmatologie du rift. Ph.D. Thesis, Université de Paris-Sud, Centre d’Orsay, France.[Available soon]
  • Smets, B., d’Oreye, N., Kervyn, F., Kervyn, M., Albino, F., Arellano, S., Bagalwa, M., Balagizi, C., Carn, S.A., Darrah, T.H., Fernández, J., Galle, B., González, P.J., Head, E., Karume, K., Kavotha, D., Lukaya, F., Mashagiro, N., Mavonga, G., Norman, P., Osodundu, E., Pallero, J.L.G., Prieto, J.F., Samsonov, S., Syauswa, M., Tedesco, D., Tiampo, K., Wauthier, C., Yalire, M.M., 2013. Detailed multidisciplinary monitoring reveals pre- and co-eruptive signals at Nyamulagira volcano (North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo). Bulletin of Volcanology 76:787, 35 pp. doi:10.1007/s00445-013-0787-1 [Link]
  • Smets, B., d’Oreye, N., Kervyn, F., 2014. Toward Another Lava Lake in the Virunga Volcanic Field? Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 95, 377–378. [Available online]
  • Smets, B., Kervyn, M., d’Oreye, N., Kervyn, F., 2015. Spatio-temporal dynamics of eruptions in a youthful extensional setting: Insights from Nyamulagira Volcano (D.R. Congo), in the western branch of the East African Rift. Earth-Science Reviews 150, 305–328. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2015.08.008 [Link]
  • Wauthier, C., Cayol, V., Poland, M.P., Kervyn, F., d’Oreye, N., Hooper, A., Samsonov, S., Tiampo, K., Smets, B., 2013. Nyamulagira’s magma plumbing system inferred from 15 years of InSAR. Spec. Publi. Geol. Soc. London 380, 1–27. doi:10.1144/SP380.9 [Link]

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