2019-12-19

Nyiragongo Volcano | The Lava Lake of Democratic Republic of Congo

Nyiragongo is one of the most active volcanoes on the planet, it is 2,000 meters high and has been little studied since during the last 20 years the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is located, has been constantly at war. At the base of the volcano stretches the city of Goma, increasingly crowded with refugees escaping from rebel and government forces in the interior of the country. The diameter of the largest crater is about two kilometers wide, and in its very center a lake of hot lava is often formed, which this article is devoted to. For a long time, the hot Nyiragongo lava lake was the largest in the world.


active volcanoes of the world of Democratic Republic of Congo

Goma, which has an estimated population of more than 1 million people crammed together, has on many occasions suffered the fury of the volcano. In 1977 the lava descended the mountain at over 90 kilometers per hour, killing several hundred people, although the flow hardened before reaching the main part of the city and this lava lake was at its maximum depth recorded ever, 10,700 ft., In 2002, the volcano spewed more than 15 million cubic meters of lava in central Goma, destroying 14,000 homes, burying many buildings and forcing 350,000 citizens to escape. © Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world

active volcanoes of the world
© Photo by Olivier Grunewal

These two eruptions were mere "burps" compared to Nyiragongo's potential fury, however. According to Dario Tedesco, an Italian volcanologist who has devoted himself in recent years to studying the volcano to try to ascertain eruption cycles and warn authorities of a new disaster, says Goma is the most dangerous city in the world.

In July 2010, Dario Tedesco went to Nyiragongo with a group of young scientists and a support team that included six guards armed with Kalashnikov rifles. His three-week assignment was equivalent to that of a doctor when evaluating a patient who had not had an exam for decades. The scientists wanted to do a full mountain survey, study its rocks, extract gas samples, decipher its behavioral tendencies.

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo

active volcanoes of the world of Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewal

After a full day of climbing, Tedesco reached the top of the volcano, on the barren, windswept edge. Its lake is one of the largest in the world. It is 200 meters wide and has a mesmerizing kaleidoscopic surface. Black plates cut by orange fissures change their outline and shake with fury. The lake roars like a jet on takeoff and emits a dense white plume of dozens of lethal gases. The whole periodic table is revolving inside.

Tedesco felt like crossing a war zone after an extensive journey to hell's door to collect a sample from age zero. Before going down the mountain, he took one last look back as a way to register that unique image:

"Stunning! Just amazing! I'll never see anything like it in my life again."

These images are the record of this visit to the volcano's edge, which sooner or later will have an eruption capable of turning Gum into a new Pompeii.

Wonders of Nature
Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Nature pic 
Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

The lava lake – which sits 400m deep inside the crater – is the biggest in the world.
In 1977 and destroying a good part of the city of Goma in 2002. The lava lake – which sits 400m deep inside the crater – is the biggest in the world. © Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

volcano candle melting
Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Active volcanoes of the world, Democratic Republic of Congo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

Democratic Republic of Congo, the Nyiragongo is a picturesque 3,470m high volcano, the most active in the region.
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

The Most Dangerous Volcano in the World: A tale of Nyiragongo
© Photo by Olivier Grunewald

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