THE MOST VOLUMINOUS LAVA LAKE IN RECENT HISTORY

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater, The most voluminous lava lake (1)

The most voluminous lava lake – Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater

Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3470 m in the Virunga Mountains. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nyiragongo lava lake has at times been the most voluminous lava lake in recent history.

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater, The most voluminous lava lake (2)

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater, The most voluminous lava lake (3)

The volcano partly overlaps with two older volcanoes, Baratu and Shiharu, and is also surrounded by hundreds of small volcanic cinder cones from flank eruptions. The main crater is about 2 km wide and usually contains a lava lake.

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater, The most voluminous lava lake (6)

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater, The most voluminous lava lake (7)

The most voluminous lava lake in recent history

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater, The most voluminous lava lake (8)

Mount Nyiragongo, Nyiragongo Crater, The most voluminous lava lake (9)

Volcanism at Nyiragongo is caused by the rifting of the Earth’s crust where two parts of the African Plate are breaking apart. Not much is known about how long the volcano has been erupting, but since 1882, it has erupted at least 34 times, including many periods where activity was continuous for years at a time, often in the form of a churning lava lake in the crater.