Hiking Mount Nyamuragira
Located in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Virunga Mountains, Nyamuragira, a large shield volcano similar to Mauna Loa on Hawai’i, is one of the Africa’s most active volcanoes that has erupted over 40 times since 1885 as well as eruptions from the summit, there have been numerous eruptions from the flanks of the volcano, creating new smaller volcanoes that have lasted only for a short time. Nyamuagira is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield
volcano located about 25 km north of Lake Kivu in the East African Rift Valley NW of Nyiragongo volcano. It has a volume of 500 cubic km, and extensive lava flows from the volcano blanket 1500 square km of the East African Rift, some lava flows having travelled more than 30 km from the summit. The volcano is so active in that after every few years, it produces eruptions often from radial fissures emitting lava fountains and large, fluid lava flows travelling many kilometers into the scarcely populated area of tropical forest and farmland surrounding it.
More still, the broad shield volcano, 3058 m high, has a summit caldera, about 2 km wide and walls up to about 100 m high, during some eruptions; a lava lake is contained within the caldera. In addition, as typical for shield volcanoes, it has both eruptions inside the summit caldera and from extensive rift zones on the flanks, producing numerous fissures and cinder cones.
However, according to the recent survey by a group of scientists from OVG, UN and the Second University of Naples who visited the are in April 2016, a lake at the bottom of the inner pit in the volcano’s summit caldera has recently disappeared, however, it was not known exactly what happened and how it came to happen but the surveying group in the area only saw an incandescent vent that was releasing a jet of hot gasses in the place of the lava lake. This group of people just found out that the lake that was formed I 2014 had just disappeared after a quick draining at around April 2016.
More importantantly still, according to the recent scientific publication from March 2016, it was realized that the lave lake had been a consequence of the lager lateral eruption that took place in 2011-2012. To add on this, the eruption was believed to have emptied a significant amount of magma that introduced significant changes in the configuration of the volcanoes internal plumbing system hence leading to the formation of the summit pit craters. Also, in 2014, the next phase of the magma recharge took place where by the magma rose into one of them to create the summit lava lake which disappeared din 2016.
Also according to the GVP Eruptive History Data concerning its eruption history, it started Since 1865, when historical records for Nyamuragira began, more still, further eruptions have been reported in 1882, 1896, 1899, 1901, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907(2), 1908, 1909, 1913, 1920, 1921, 1938, 1948, 1951(2), 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1967, 1971,1976, 1980,1981, 1984, 1986, 1987-88, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2011-2012, and 2014 which clearly indicates the activeness of the volcano as compared to other volcanoes in the whole world.
In addition, Nyamuragira and nearby Nyiragongo mark the western end of the Virunga volcanic field and together with Visoke is the only volcanoes which have been historically active in the area. Several fault systems meet at Nyiragongo, such as the main N-S fault, the NW-SE trending system linking Nyamuragira to Nyiragongo, the NE-SW trending fault system including the Rushayo chain of scoria cones that was formed in 1948, and possibly the further fault approximately parallel but west of the Rushayo chain over which lie the scoria cones of Muhuboli and Gitur.
In conclusion, nyamuragira volcano national park is an active volcano alongside Nyiragongo and therefore travelers should not miss out this during their travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo.