Guest Videos: Expedition to Nyamuragira (Plus Gorillas) (June 2 1637 UTC)

June 2, 2023, 9:37 a.m., Pacific: More details on the volcano’s current state (read the whole thread):

Update, June 1, 2023, 2:20 p.m., Pacific: Two reliable sources indicate that things probably are settling down:

  1. It is a big flow field, though.

  2. This, from the GVP:

    Most Recent Weekly Report: 24 May-30 May 2023

    On 28 May the Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG) reported that the lava flows on Nyamulagira’s upper W flank had begun to cool and solidify. By 29 May seismicity had returned to levels similar to those recorded before the 17 May increase in activity. Lava effusion continued but was confined to the summit crater; incandescence above the crater was periodically visible.

    Source: Observatoire Volcanologique de Goma (OVG)

Unfortunately, I can’t get the OVG link that they provide to work.

Update, May 28, 2023, 9:50 a.m., Pacific: An update, tweeted five hours ago, by the Goma Volcano Observatory (note that they apparently must rely on satellites, even though the volcano is so close — that’s how dangerous the ground situation is!): Per Twitter translation, “Satellite data processing and field observations show that the lava flow oriented west of the crater in the Virunga National Park continues at a very slow pace and the upper surface of this lava flow has begun to solidify.”

However, the photo seems to have been taken by a ground observer.

Update, May 23, 11:37 a.m., Pacific: Still waiting. The most recent credible update I’ve found thus far is this from May 21st (autotranslated).

As they point out, the volcano is controlled by partisans; too, data limitations limit forecasting events.


Toulouse VAAC has not issued any new advisories since March, so presumably there isn’t much fountaining going on now.

Also, I expect that residents, regardless of the military situation, would be uploading lots of pix if the volcano was threatening them closely.

We’ll just have to keep waiting a while longer.

Update, May 22, 2023, 9:45 a.m., Pacific: Per Google Translate, “Press Release N°009/MRSIT/OVG/MSA/KMC/BRK/2023
The OVG informs the population of Goma and its surroundings that current observations of the ongoing eruption of the Nyamulagira volcano show a relative decline in activity.” (Goma Volcano Observatory)

However, my browser tells me I am not allowed to view drafts, when I click on the provided link, and nothing yet is mentioned on the two Twitter accounts I rely on: Charles Balagizi and Nyiragongo Info.

Waiting for confirmation…

Update, May 21, 2023, 6:16 a.m., Pacific: Just to underline the point, this is not the Decade Volcano Nyiragongo, which has had two disastrous 21st-century eruptions thus far, threatening and/or damaging the city of Goma.

This is the other nearby, less threatening one, and as Dr. Balagizi notes, its lava is flowing in the park, not towards the city.

No VAAC ash advisory is in effect just now.

This from another reliable source:

Update, May 20, 2023, 9:57 a.m., Pacific: There is some fresh activity, though if lava does leave Nyamuragira’s crater, reportedly it will stay in the park, not threaten Goma.

No ash advisory is currently in effect, per Toulouse VAAC.

Nyamuragira is giving off SO2, though, as usual. This most recent TROPOMI signal is actually a bit more diffuse than earlier ones this week.

Original post:

Welcome to the eastern Congo, in Africa!

We’re in Virunga National Park.

In the NASA image above, that’s Nyamuragira volcano on the left, and on the right, dangerous Nyiragongo Decade Volcano, which we have already explored.

Down along the lake shore is the city of Goma, home to three-quarters of a million Congolese; on the forested slopes of both volcanoes live “gorillas in the mist” — seriously: about a third of the world’s total population; and underground are “conflict minerals.”

The folks at Photovolcanica recorded this video during an expedition to Nyamuragira in 2012, but the volcano erupts very often, most recently, on March 13-14, 2023, with continuing activity in the crater:

The military escort and arms are absolutely necessary.

Here is how the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program described Nyamuragira in a March 2022 report:

Africa’s most active volcano, Nyamulagira (also known as Nyamuragira), is a massive high-potassium basaltic shield about 25 km N of Lake Kivu and 15 km NE of the steep-sided Nyiragongo volcano. The summit is truncated by a small 2 x 2.3 km caldera that has walls up to about 100 m high. Documented eruptions have occurred within the summit caldera, as well as from the numerous flank fissures and cinder cones. A lava lake in the summit crater, active since at least 1921, drained in 1938, at the time of a major flank eruption. Recent lava flows extend down the flanks more than 30 km from the summit as far as Lake Kivu; extensive lava flows from this volcano have covered 1,500 km2 of the western branch of the East African Rift.



Here are just a few of the videos out there:

Just hangin’ out in 2017:

Powerful, yet patient, in 2020:

Also from 2017: whoa.

Featured image: NASA/JPL/NIMA.

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