Mount Nyiragongo is located inside Virunga national park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mount Nyiragongo is part of the African Rift Valley were two parts of the African plate a drifting apart, creating different mountains including Mount Nyiragongo, Mount Meru and Mount Elgon etc.

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  • It is a composite cone/strato volcano.
  • It is 3470 meters high.
  • It's main crater is approximately 2 kilometers wide.
  • It's most recent eruption was in 2011.
  • It has carbon dioxide toxicity.
  • It usually contains a lava lake.
  • It's earliest recorded eruption was in 1884.
  • It has destroyed over 12,000 homes.
  • It's lava lake is always active.
  • It has a 1.2 km diameter summit.
  • In 1977 it's lava lake was drained.
  • It has the worlds largest lava lake.
  • It's lava flow can travel at 60 mph.

Eruption History

Mount Nyiragongo has erupted 34 times since 1822. On 10th January 2002, the crater walls of mount Nyiragongo fractured at the lave lake drained in less than an hour. The lava flowed at over 60 miles an hour down the side of the volcano and killed at least 70 people.

Eruption Style

Mount Nyiragongo's eruption style is large effusive eruptions, and the lava lake overflows the summit crater.

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2002 Eruption-Case Study

On 17th January 2002 half a million people were forced to flee to Rwanda to escape the lava lake.These people spent days and nights on the streets with no water, electricity or shelter. Within the first 24 hours of the eruption 45 people had died. Homes were destroyed by lava and ash and many people were burned by the hot lava as they tried to return to their homes. 14 nearby villages were destroyed by the eruptions and the lava flow made it very difficult to travel along the roads, meaning some aid agencies were unable to gain entry to certain areas of Goma.