Nyiragongo Volcano Facts
- This creation of geological processes bears the somewhat hard to pronounce name of Nyiragongo Volcano. It’s perhaps best known, at least to researchers, for its unique combination of factors. Vulcanologists continue to study it even today.
- In fact, those ongoing investigations keep geologists, vulcanologists, and those specializing in related fields busy. That’s mainly due to the extreme variability of conditions in and around its confines. While fascinating, this also remains dangerous.
- The site also stands out from similar formations around the world. It further does so for a variety of reasons. Perhaps chief among these is its sheer volume. While this varies, the average amount of lava contained within it staggers the imagination.
- More precisely, the average amount of lava it contains makes it the largest regularly maintained lava lake in the world. The lava produced by this volcano additionally garners much interest, and thus study, due to its intriguing and unusual nature.
- That’s true since the lava produced by the Nyiragongo Volcano has an extremely fluid consistency. This occurs due to its containing an unusually high concentration of alkali-rich volcanic rock. That nature creates a remarkable effect on its eruptions.
- Coincidentally, this impressive volcano also possesses a relatively steep slope. Its flows often literally do flow, almost like water. Combined with the fluid consistency of that lava and its proximity to populated areas, it’s viewed as a highly dangerous volcano.
Nyiragongo Volcano Physical Description
The fabulous Nyiragongo Volcano represents an excellent example of the specific variety that experts classify as a stratovolcano. That’s one displaying a roughly conical shape, that’s also formed of multiple layers of hardened lava and debris, known as tephra.
This wonder of vulcanism also remains highly active, and indeed, is almost constantly so. This makes it one of the few of its type in the world for which this holds true. Its precise shape and dimensions are therefore constantly changing, at least to small degrees.
This turbulent marvel of its region additionally boasts other impressive physical statistics. It stands quite tall, with a height equaling roughly 11,380 ft (3,470 m). The primary crater itself also stands out for its sheer size, measuring almost 1.25 mi (2 km) in width.
The ever-present lava lake of the Nyiragongo Volcano adds yet another distinctive characteristic to the site. That’s because it has an average depth of nearly 2,000 ft ( 600 m). Yet the nature of the lava itself remains the most distinctive feature of this prodigious peak.
This has an extremely high alkali ratio, which allows for its flowing rapidly down its steep slopes. As a result, flow speeds sometimes reach 60 mph (96 kph). Due to its combination of slope and lava fluidity, its flow speeds represent the fastest currently known to man.
Nyiragongo Volcano Location and History
The extraordinary Nyiragongo Volcano formed in a region of the world already renowned for its wide variety of other natural wonders, many equally amazing. That’s true since the earth’s forces created the site on what now constitutes the continent of Africa.
There, however, it sits in what’s now the Virunga National Park. This protected region itself sits within the boundaries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Astonishingly, its geographical location presently places it less than 12 mi (20 km) from a populated area.
For the moment, vulcanologists still know little of its ancient eruptive history. During its activity in modern times, though, events remains well documented. The volcano has erupted at least 34 times since 1882. Incredibly, some of these eruptions lasted for years at a time.
This amazing volcano also has an amazing history all its own. It actually overlaps with several older volcanoes and sits amid hundreds of small cinder cones. Because of its unique dangers, the Nyiragongo Volcano was named as a Decade Volcano in 1991.
In March of 2016, the Goma Volcano Observatory discovered that a new vent had opened on the northeast edge of the crater. Since that time, various rumblings and small quakes have continued to occur within its confines. It’s by no means finished amazing us.