Nyiragongo and its ultra alkaline magma – Part III

Introduction  In part one I took a close look at the large scale forces that drive volcanism in Africa, at continental rifting in its different stages and the types of magma chemistry that form because of it. I also discussed the origin of the forces that created Nyiragongo and Virunga in the first place. In…

Nyiragongo and its ultra alkaline magma – Part II

Nyiragongo history of activity and nature of its eruptive activity (See here for Part I) Nyiragongo’s beautiful steep cone, encased in its unsettling night glow, towers over the densely populated Kivu region that is home to millions of people. The volcanic edifice itself measures around 13 kilometers wide and rises to 3470 meters above lake…

Nyiragongo and its ultra alkaline magma – Part I

Introduction Nyiragongo is one of my favourite volcanoes and one of the most peculiar and most unusual of all active volcanoes on this planet. It’s also a very problematic volcano, close to a huge population center that is rapidly growing, and there is a lot of risks associated with its volcanism as well as with…

Piton de la Fournaise, or Putin’s furnace

The Indian ocean can be a paradise. It has tropical beaches, smiling people, and blue ocean. But a paradise does not come out of nowhere; these tropical island paradises form in violence. Peace only comes after turmoil, when the forces of destruction finally give up, having created where they sought to destroy. Every tropical island…

Goma: how to live with Nyiragongo

Few people would have heard of Mount Nyiragongo before its current eruption. There are some cities that we know live in the shadow of a volcano. Naples and Vesuvius, Catania and Etna, Seattle and Rainier (although the city itself is unlikely be affected by an eruption), Fuji and Tokyo (with the same proviso). But Nyiragongo…

The case for an African VAAC 

Welcome to the “Rant Edition of Volcanocafé”, tonights special: Carl Erupts.  For a decade I have talked about the need for increased monitoring of African volcanoes. It is if nothing else, rather ridiculous that the volcanoes in Antarctica are far better monitored than African volcanoes bordered by large cities.  Yesterday this came very close to causing a large disaster with international…

The Mountains of the Moon

Have you seen the Mountains of the Moon? There are several ways to answer this question. The most common answer will be, yes, and I loved the movie. Less common would be, yes, I just got my new telescope and it was the first thing I looked at. And the least common response would be,…

The Missing Piece Part 1

Big intrusions = Big bangs? With mafic systems hogging all the attention, as a felsic guy, I feel compelled to represent my magma type. Large felsic systems are a slow burn, they spend plenty of time accumulating magma and give frequent small eruptions before releasing huge amounts of material in one eruption. These systems usually…