Nyiragongo Volcano Facts
- The Nyiragongo Volcano presents a quite unique combination of factors for vulcanologists to study. Investigations of this geological marvel keep geologists rather busy.
- While the volume of its lava lake varies, the average amount of lava it contains makes it the largest regularly maintained lava lake in the world.
- The lava produced by this volcano also has an extremely fluid consistency. This is because it contains an unusually high concentration of alkali-rich volcanic rock.
- Incidentally, it possesses a relatively steep slope. Combined with the fluid consistency of its lava and its proximity to populated areas, this makes it a dangerous volcano.
Nyiragongo Volcano Geological Description
The Nyiragongo Volcano represents an excellent example of a stratovolcano. It also remains highly (and almost constantly) active.
It also stands quite tall, with a height of 11,380 ft (3,470 m). In addition, the primary crater measures almost 1.25 mi (2 km) wide. Its lava lake adds another distinctive characteristic, having an average depth of nearly 2,000 ft ( 600 m).
Yet the nature of its lava remains its most distinctive feature. Possessing an extremely high alkali ratio, the lava flows rather rapidly down its steep slopes. As a result, downhill flow speeds have been measured at 60 mph (100 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
Vulcanologists know little of its ancient eruptive history, yet its activity in modern times remains well documented. The volcano has erupted 34 times since 1882. Furthermore, some of these eruptions lasted for years at a time.
This volcano 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.