What type of volcano is Mount Nyiragongo?
What type of volcano is Mount Nyiragongo? Yes, mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 meters. This volcano is a steep-sloped cone with alternating layers of hardened lava, solidified ash, and ejected rocks due to previous eruptions.
Mount Nyiragongo is located inside Virunga National Park, about 12km away from Goma city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
For about 50 years, mount Nyiragongo cradled an active lava lake in its summit crater however in 1977, the lava lake drained and caused numerous mortalities. In 2002, lava flows from the volcano occupied some parts of Goma city where several people lost their lives. The recent eruption of Mount Nyiragongo happened in May 2021 and it destroyed several households and infrastructures hence leading some people to vacate to the nearest areas like Gisenyi in Rwanda. The May 2021 Mount Nyiragongo eruption resulted in at least 32 deaths, which were mostly caused by car crashes in the process of evacuation.
Mount Nyiragongo’s cone is made up of pyroclastics and lava flows. The lava of this volcano is a combination of low-silica, alkali-rich, and ultramafic extrusive rocks essentially free of feldspars. They range from olivine-rich melilitites through leucites to nephelinites, containing, in various sizes mainly the minerals nepheline, kalsilite, leucite, melilite, and clinopyroxene. The very low composition of silica is a result of eruptions with unusually fluid flows. While most lava flows move rather slowly and rarely pose a danger to human life, however, the lava flows of Mount Nyiragongo may race downhill at approximately 100 km/h (60 mph).
Despite the fact that Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano, its neighboring Mount Nyamuragira is a shield volcano with a shallow-sloped volcano resembling a giant warrior shield formed as a result of hardened lava flows. Well, Nyamuragira volcano is not so popular as Nyiragongo however it also harbors a lava lake at its summit crater. The lava lake at the top of Nyamuragira drained in 1938, at the same time as a major eruption from one of the volcano’s flanks. Historically, lava flows from the Nyamuragira volcano have reached Lake Kivu and yes, Mount Nyamuragira experienced a significant eruption in November 2006.
After understanding the type of volcano under which Mount Nyiragongo in DR Congo is categorized, a number of geologists are always interested in knowing the best time to hike Nyiragongo Volcano for research. Yes, the Nyiragongo can be hiked throughout the year however the best time for climbing is during the dry season that runs from December to Mid-March and from mid-June to September. During this period, the temperatures are bearable compared to the wet season. More so, on top of the volcano, there is less mist during the dry season hence giving clearer views into the lava crater. The average temperature at the summit ranges between 10°C to 30°C with the lowest being 8°C while the maximum is 31°C.