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Transcript of Nryiragongo
Democratic Republic of Congo
Located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 20 km north of the town Goma, in the Virunga National Park.
Elevation of 3470m
1.2km diameter summit containing the worlds most largest and active lava lake.
Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano which means that it is essence is due to hardened lava, tephra, pumice and volcanic ash. Stratovolcano characteristics include a steep profile and periodic explosive eruptions. These types of volcanoes are the most dangerous and inflict the most damage because the eruptions are extremely aggressive and the lava flows at high speeds and can also travel long distances. Mount Nyiragongo can also be classified as a composite volcano considering that it's structure mainly consist of previous eruptive material.
Goma is the closest city to Mount Nyiragongo and has a population of 1 million citizens. There are however small villages surrounding the volcano. Goma is located 13 km from the volcano which is why it is under big threat when the aggressive volcano erupts. Goma has faced emergencies when Nyiragongo erupted in 2002 which led to a a huge evacuation leaving thousands without homes and also claiming the lives of 147 people.
There was recently an article* written about the latest eruption, volcanologist such as Celestin Kasereka Mahinda understood that Nyiragongo had to be studied and under surveillance. However the armed rebel group M23 have prohibited any research revolving the volcano, and has controlled the are around due to the strategic positions overlooking Goma. Kasereka stated that "What happened in 2002 will happen again. We just don’t know when," and he therefore fights for the right to monitor the volcano in order the prepare Goma for any upcoming eruptions. Kasereka gave the authorities for Goma a warning 2 months before the dreadful eruption in 2002, but they were ignored and today we can see the consequences of this. Goma also faces another threat which is the nearby Lake Kivu, which contains high amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. If the lava reaches the lake next time it erupts these gases will pollute the atmosphere and harm millions of people. “Surveillance is very reduced so the risk has become very big, the situation is a bit ridiculous."
To conclude, a eruption will result in numerous fatalities, thousands without shelter and millions under threat." If there’s another eruption, it’ll hit the economy: we’ll have to start from zero again. Our houses will be destroyed, our people killed,” Aminata Yahaya said, a Goma citizen whom lived in Goma when Nyiragongo erupted in 2002.
Mount Nyiragongo was formed when the Earth's crust started rifting and also when two parts of the African plate began to drift apart. Nyiragongo is also located over a hotspot which many claim is the reason to numerous eruptions and also it's extreme activity. In the following pictures we can see that there are two parts of the African plate, and Nyiragongo is located on the border between the two plates, and therefore it explains why Mount Nyiragongo has been created.
Mount Nyiragongo is famous for it's extreme eruptions and also it's continuous activity. Volcanologist are not sure about how long the volcano has erupted, but they do know that since 1882 it has erupted 34 times. During many of these eruptions, it has been on going for longer periods where the lava lake has been churning.From 1894 until 1977 Nyiragongo had an active lava lake on going, however on January 10th the crater walls collapsed leading to a drainage which lasted for an hour. The result was a wave of lava flowing at speeds of 60 miles per hour (96.56km/h), flooding and destroying villages, and also taking the lives of over 1000 people.
What makes Nyiragongo's eruptions so unique is that no where else in the world is there a volcano that is so steep-sided and contains a lake of fluid lava.
In 2002 there was also a major eruption where the lava flowed into the outskirts of the city Goma. 400,000 people were evacuated and a total death count of 147. There was a huge insecurity and fear of the lava reaching the Lake Kivu, which could result in gas-saturated waters deep in the lake to rise to the surface, which would release large amounts of carbon-dioxide and methane. This did fortunately not happen but it is however closely supervised by scientist.
Result of 2002 Eruption
Drained lava lake, killed over 1,000 people because of fast moving flows
Rwandan refugees fleeing during eruption caused a lot of destruction
Lava flows through downtown Goma, reaches Lake Kivu, only to ~150 km depth
2002 - present
Constant activity, seismic tremors, smaller eruptions