Nyamuragira: Volcanic eruption in the DRC
The two volcanoes Nyamarugira and Nyiragongo belong to the most active volcanoes in Africa as well as worldwide. The region of the Virunga Mountains was regularly shaken by massive eruptions. A few days ago the Nyamarugira, a large shield volcano with a height of 3058m, erupted again. On the second day of the eruption park rangers reported about tall lava fountains shooting a few 100 meters high.
Footage from the current eruption of Nyamuragira
The volcano is one of seven volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains located between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They extend along the western foothills of the East African Rift Valley northern Lake Kivu.
Nyiragongo, near the provincial capital Goma caused a lot of massive eruptions in the past. Large numbers of people settled around the volcanoes because of the fertile soil that surrounds them. In the course of past eruptions a lot of people lost their homes or even died because they were suddenly taken by surprise.
Reports of the most devastating eruptions go back to January 1977 when a lava stream destroyed important infrastructure and many homes. In the course of this explosion about 500 people died. Later, in 1994 the region was threatened by other enormous volcanic activities. It happened during a period when the region was totally overpopulated because of the large numbers of refugees coming from the neighboring Rwanda. During the genocide in 1994 nearly 800.000 people took flight into the DRC. An eruption such as the one in 1977 would have caused the most terrible volcano catastrophe in history. Another explosion occurred in 2002 in which course about 200.000 were left homeless. The centre of Goma had been totally destroyed by the lava.
The ongoing eruption is mainly concentrated on Nyamarugira, not on Nyiragongo. Lava flows will probably not reach Goma or other residential areas. But still, volcanic eruptions in areas which are influenced by a high seismological activity can always affect the whole region. It can never be ruled out that the eruptions from one volcano cannot cause activity of its neighboring brother.
Nyiragongo Volcano and the Volcanic Observatory of Goma, Congo, (2002, bbc)