Get our newsletter!
Check out our volcano tours on!
Volcanoes & Earthquakes - new app for Android
Volcanoes & Earthquakes - app for iPhone & iPad

Guaranteed tours:
11-29 Aug 2020: Kamchatka - Land of Colors - Kamchatka (Russia)
21-31 Aug 2020: Islands of Fire and Whales - Kurile Islands (Russia)
3-19 Sep 2020: Volcanoes of Java - Java (Indonesia)
29 Sep - 5 Oct 2020: Adventure Volcano - Yasur Volcano Travel - Tanna Island (Vanuatu)
10-18 Oct 2020: From Stromboli to Etna - Eolian Islands + Etna volcano (Italy)
14-27 Nov 2020: Desert, salt and volcanoes - Danakil desert (Ethiopia)
: spaces available / : guaranteed / : few spaces left / : booked out

Support us?

Maintaining the volcano and earthquake news sections on this website, the free Volcano Webcams tool and interactive map widget is a free-time, both time- and server cost intensive effort.
If you find the information useful and would like to support us, and help keep it alive and improve it, please consider making a small donation (PayPal).

Online cc payment
Thank you!
Random pictures
Watch volcanoes live on our webcam and online data viewer tool!


Nyiragongo volcano (DR Congo): fracture opens new vent inside crater - precursor of possible flank eruption?

Tuesday Mar 08, 2016 13:20 PM | BY: T

View of the crater of Nyiragongo on 1 or 2 March with the lava lake and the new vent at the NE margin of the crater floor (image: OVG)
View of the crater of Nyiragongo on 1 or 2 March with the lava lake and the new vent at the NE margin of the crater floor (image: OVG)
The new vent on the NE end of the crater floor on 1 or 2 March (OVG)
The new vent on the NE end of the crater floor on 1 or 2 March (OVG)
Some very unusual and alarming events have been taking place at the volcano recently: A new eruptive vent opened at the northeastern end of the lowest crater terrace, outside the active lava lake (which had been in place since 2002) and just beneath the near vertical crater walls..
According to a preliminary report of the Goma Volcano Observatory (GVO) who visited the volcano during 1-2 March, the new vent is now forming a second lava lake. Images from a visit of GVO staff show a spatter cone erupting fresh lava flows that pooled onto the crater floor.
GVO reported that since the end of February, activity at the volcano has been more intense than usual. In particular, starting from 04 am on 29 February, local inhabitants began to hear frequent rumblings coming from the volcano almost every minute. Likely, these were caused by the opening of the new dike (fracture occupied as pathway for the new magma) and associated rockfalls inside the crater (the vent is directly located near almost vertical walls). It is important to note as GVO's report mentions, that the location of the new vent is on the east-trending fracture zone that connects the summit vent of Nyiragongo with the prominent flank cone Baruta to the northeast of the main edifice, near the village of Kibumba.
This rift zone (along with the southern rift zone extending towards Goma town) is one of the most prone locations of the volcano's dangerous flank eruptions.
When these occur, the volcano's edifice is ruptured laterally, allowing magma to drain outside. Such eruptions have been occurring at intervals of few decades typically. They usually drain very large volumes of very fluid, and hence, unusually fast flowing lava from the lake in short time. The results of the past two such eruptions in 1977 and 2002 were catastrophic: they killed more than 1000 people, destroyed dozends of villages and a large part of Goma town (in 2002).

Whether or not the current developments are precursor of a new eruption from Nyiragongo's flanks is difficult to say, but the appearance of the new vent tells that an extensional movement has taken place on this fracture zone, something that is certainly alarming.
Links / Sources:
Previous news
Small pyroclatic flow at Shiveluch this morning (KVERT webcam)
Sunday, Mar 06, 2016
Shiveluch (Kamchatka): The lava dome continues to be very active, generating frequent rockfalls and small glowing avalanches on the SW side as well as, more rarely, on the SE side as can be seen on today's time-lapse video: ... [more]
Steam plume from Alaid volcano seen on yesterday's NASA Suomi NPP satellite image
Friday, Mar 04, 2016
Alaid (Northern Kuriles): A new eruption is occurring at the volcano, satellite images show. A pronounced steam plume with possible ash content can be seen drifting west from the volcano, at estimated 13,000 ft (4 km) altitude. In addition, NASA's MODIS and VIIRS sensors have been detecting an intense heat source from the volcano's summit lately. ... [more]
Thermal image of the lava overflow inside Kilauea's Pu'u 'O'o crater yesterday morning
Thursday, Mar 03, 2016
Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): Based on Himawari-8 satellite data, Darwin VAAC reported an ash emission from the volcano at 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude last evening, creating a plume that drifted 100 km to the NE. Aviation color code is at Orange. ... [more]
Strombolian activity at Suwanose-jima this morning, seen from neighboring Toshima island
Wednesday, Mar 02, 2016
Suwanose-jima (Ryukyu Islands): After a period of relative calm since last October, a new phase of strombolian activity occurred this morning at the volcano. ... [more]

More on VolcanoDiscovery:

Copyrights: VolcanoDiscovery and other sources as noted.
Use of material: Most texts and images, in particular photographs, on this website are protected by copyright. Further reproduction and use of without authorization is usually not consented. If you are not sure or need licensing rights for photographs, for example for publications and commercial use, please contact us.