Eruption of Nyiragongo

January 22, 2002


Provided by: USGS
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster

Nyiragongo, one of Africa's most dangerous volcanoes, erupted last week spewing molten lava down it flanks and into the city of Goma. The photo above was taken by Jack Lockwood of the US Geological Survey during an eruption of Nyiragongo in 1994. Nyiragongo lies near the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. It's a stratovolcano (steep-sided), approximately 11,365 feet (3465 m) above sea level. Nyiragongo is part of the Virunga Volcanic Chain (the most active in Africa), and it's associated with the East African Rift Zone. The city of Goma was evacuated when lava from Nyiragongo (about 12 miles or 19 km north of Goma) streamed into this city of 500,000, on the north shore of Lake Kivu. Although the death toll is not yet known, this is likely to be the deadliest eruption of Nyiragongo during the past 25 years. Much of Goma's food supply was ruined by the lava, which has engulfed 90 percent of its central business district.

Related Links: