The case for an African VAAC 

The morning after. (Photo by Moses Sawasawa / AFP)

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 implications. Let us talk about that from a slightly more personal angle. 

As the eruption started at Nyiragongo yesterday it was news that filled me with quite a bit of trepidation since I have been to Goma several times, and I have a personal history with the airport in question. 

What makes Nyiragongo so dangerous is that the main rift goes towards the city of Goma through the suburbs, that in combination with the unusually fluid lava is a recipe for disaster. Flank eruptions in the area are common, the last one prior to this one was in 2002. 

During the 2002 eruption 245 people died and 120 000 people became homeless. During the eruption the airport was overrun by lava. 


2021 Eruption 

Lava crushing houses in Goma. Photograph borrowed from the Guardian.

Yesterday (Saturday) a new similar flank eruption started that quickly enveloped the suburbs, cut the main road to Beni, and overran the airport once again. 

Evacuation orders was quickly issued, but how well that worked is still to be seen as we are still waiting for official numbers of the dead and displaced people. 


Goma Volcanic Observatory 

After the 2002 eruption a local volcanic Observatory was opened to monitor the volcano and to try to forecast future eruptions. The observatory was under-staffed with scientists, and lacked needed equipment beyond the most rudimentary. 

Still, it was as well run as possible, and did what they could to keep everyone safe in the area. In 2020 the World Bank pulled out, and that left the Observatory even more strapped for cash. 

Leaving a very unusual set of dangerous volcanoes under-monitored and under-funded, and that is bordering large cities, is bad to begin with, but pulling the funding believing that a war-torn and broken-down country can carry the burden on its own is just another way to say, “we don’t give a shit if you die”. 

I am so mad that I am farting flames. We are talking about potentially tens of thousands of lives that could be saved by a very small amount of money. 


The Airport 

Goma International Airport 2002 Eruption. Photograph by Guido Potters.

As soon as I heard the news I was thrown back in time, my nostrils filled with the memory of the scents from the tarmac and the surrounding vegetation at night. I remembered the stars shining above my head, and all the lovely local people that I met there. 

I remembered this in 2002 when I heard the news of the airport having been overrun, and I later returned and saw the airport tarmac being covered in lava where I had stood 2 years earlier. 

As I flew in a couple of more times in the intervening years, I saw how the airstrip was slowly restored from the lava, and what it took for the poor province to make the airport be what it once was. 

Yesterday those memories came back, but now I have a new memory. A memory I did not expect to have, and that I did not want to have. 

I got asked by two different pilots for information if it was safe to land in Goma. They did not ask for themselves, but they asked for colleagues enroute to Goma. The reason was simple, Toulouse VAAC that is responsible for issuing a VONA, the ash advisories, had not done their job. 

Here’s the thing. Yes, I am a geophysicist. Yes, I sort of part-time work with volcanoes, and yes, I do like to dabble with forecasting volcanic eruption and jabber about it on Volcanocafé. I am even pretty good at it. 

Normally this is done against a backdrop of professional agencies like the Icelandic Met Office, INGV, OVSICORI, Phivolcsor the Indonesian authorities (that are really kick arse good). And I am always careful in stating that they are the final word on things. 

Because it is one thing being a professional armchair volcanologist, and sitting in the hot seat of an agency when the shit hits the fan. I have never wanted to do that, and I have the utmost respect for my friends who do it. 

Yesterday my arse got planted in that hot seat. I had basically to on the fly come up with a safety instruction for pilots flying into Goma due to the lack of Toulouse VAAC ash advisories. 

All I could give them was generalized bullshit safety advice based on going around the volcano at distance and do visual inspection of the runway before attempting to land. I hated doing it, and thankfully the local airport authority closed the place down shortly thereafter. 

Hours later Toulouse VAAC issued an ash advisory, but by then the airport was overrun by lava and the eruption was winding down. 



Goma International Airport with Nyiragongo in the background. Photograph by Alexei Shevelev.

Professional pilots should not have to turn to armchair volcanologists for this. I guess that I was the best bet, and I am sort of thankful for the questions, but still… yesterday there was lives on the line in airplanes flying into Goma. 

First of all, there must be more money made available for monitoring of African volcanoes. In this day and age there is just one single entity with the available money, and at least a moderate will to do it, and that is the European Union. 

So, if you are of the European persuasion, I urge you to write to your Parliamentarian and tell them to get going on the cheque writing thing.  

If you are not a European, I urge you to write and make a fuss anyway, all things will be an improvement. 

And last, but not least, if you are contemplating making your way into volcanology, or you are about to start your Ph.D. studies, pick an African volcanology and do your studies on it. The world does not need yet another pointless paper on Yellowstone et Ilk, it needs research on the volcanoes in Africa, and God only knows that there are monsters to study there aplenty. 

Anyway, Africa needs a pan-African VAAC to issue VONAs, it needs a good backbone of Volcanic Observatories, at least for the more dangerous volcanoes (yes, I can provide a list) and it bloody well needed it yesterday. 


366 thoughts on “The case for an African VAAC 

  1. This is funny. I was trying to do city-planning for Goma, BoJo style when he wanted to close Heathrow and build a new airport in Kent.
    Doesn’t work. In the East there is Rwanda. In the North there is you know who. In the West there is Rumoka sitting on the flank of the gigantic shield volcano Nyamuragira just south of the caldera. So I crossed the lake. We will build the airport in Kalungu I decided and found this on Wikipedia:
    “Located in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Kalungu has known all sort of wars caused by armed groups in the DRC.”
    I gave up.

    • On top of the most recent lava flow tends to be the best location for an airport. Open, long enough for a runway, and if the lava returns it is better to lose an airport than a lot of people. The new lava will just become the new runway

      • That sounds just right. I was thinking though that the people of Slough would have moved to Kent, and so I assumed that most people who live in this area of Goma work for or around the airport and would follow. That was the idea.

        • Considering Betjeman’s feelings for Slough, it wouldn’t surprise me if the whole population decamps to the Carpark of Kent… Furriners all 😀

  2. The volumes flowing into Natthagi are not that large for the moment. There seems to be a narrow lava tube that feeds the slope down and the lava seems to be cooled down in the slope and build on top of existing lava at the bottom in the valley.

    One can even see this lava tube forming during the day as the flow in the beginning is glowing on a rather long distance in the beginning of the day, but as the day goes the ceiling is cooled down and the lava darkens. But I bet the tube is in the same location as the lava was flowing freely earlier in the day.

    For the flow to increase more than marginal, the western wall has to fall. It has been close a couple of times, but it still stands.

    • And there are still many people casually walking about in the soon to be island in the middle ….. prepare the Darwin award nominees

      • Special Darwin Awards Olympic Athletics Championships, with special molten prizes for long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault, for those lacking in the sprint categories. Hopefully the swimming competition will be abandoned due to overheating.

  3. Monday
    24.05.2021 21:36:39 63.962 -21.753 8.0 km 3.4 99.0 5.7 km WSW of Bláfjallaskáli

  4. Not sure if this has been posted. From Iceland Uni.

    One of the things that the Geldingadalir eruption have been steadily working on for the last few weeks is formation of a lava pond to the east of vent/crater 5a and on the platform above the “Valley with no Name”. Initially the pond was little more than a pool in the lava river, but steadily it has grown and gotten deeper by building up its levees (i.e., banks). By this process the lava issuing from the vents has constructed its own “lava-delivery” reservoir. The reservoir is positioned such that it can deliver lava, in open (i.e. channels) as well as closed (i.e. tubes) pathways, down to Meradalir, into Geldingadalir as well as into the “Valley with no Name”. Furthermore, lava commonly spills over the levees of the pond following the most intense lava fountaining episodes – at times when the overflow from the vent is greatest — note the main delivery into the lava river is via pathway below the vent overflow channel – and sometimes the lava breakouts appear at the foothill of the levees (see photos, These overflows and marginal breakouts have been very apparent during last week, with the result that the lava in the “Valley with no Name” is now more or less covered by new and fresh pāhoehoe.
    These developments are very interesting, because formation of a lava pool like this is one of the basic requirements for formation of a lava shield.

    • There is some southward migration of the earthquake swarm.

      Is there a fault there (aside from this being in the middle of the rift valley)?

      • NASA seems to think there is, look at my link one down.

        • That is a really interesting article. The earthquake swarm appears to be migrating southward along the fracture zone depicted in the article.

          It is on his Merapi webcam channel.

          Also VolcanoYT (from Indonesia) has geophones data on Nyiragongo on his YouTube channel. I don’t know if he is studying volcanology or is an amateur (he is apparently quite young) but I did notice his Agung cam went back on in the last week, and there has been some tectonic activity of late.

  5. I can’t remember were I read it or what Volcano in Africa they were writing about, but the article was about the thief of monitoring equipment from around a Volcano.
    I might be a complete amateur when it comes to Volcanoes, but I’m very sure you need the monitoring equipment to be NOT stolen so scientists can Monitor the Volcano.

    • Problem known for many years: “Add to those dangers the region’s lack of technology, and it’s no surprise that Nyiragongo has little monitoring history. “Collecting and recovering data in the Congo is made more difficult because there are problems with equipment being stolen,” Poland added. “So in addition to putting monitoring equipment in place, you have to hire three or four people to guard it. It gets to be quite costly.”

      Three or four people to guard it. Who?

    • Might be a good idea to keep an eye instead on Lake Kivu: “One day, they noticed that the rocks they normally used to dry their clothes on the shoreline were actually under water, so the lake level had come up—indicating subsidence,” said Poland. Measurements of the lake level before and after the eruption later confirmed this evidence.”

      • If I understand the NASA-article properly the fracture system is going right through the middle of the city which basically means that the city is on the worst place it could be and will disappear one day, due to plate tectonics. It is like Reykjavik sitting right on the MAR, and this is not the case, thank God.
        So, watching Nyiragongo and his neighbours is one thing. Basically they have to build up the city elsewhere and turn this into Niyragongo’s Nationalpark.

        • Yikes. The main problem is inertia; once a settlement or route is established, things tend to agglomerate over time rather than move in response to threatening phenomena. It takes a massive will and cost to move a city. Look at Jakarta, for example. This just isn’t going to happen with Goma.

          • Suggestion: what about a moratorium on rebuilding on any lava flow in the area? Then every area that lava destroys will get rebuilt at the other side of town, and the city will move, gradually, away from the volcano. No part of it will get wrecked more than 1 more time, which isn’t as good as 0 but might be practically achievable with such a no-rebuilding-where-there-was-lava policy.

    • Reminds me of what happened in Kenya when they tried to install telegrams wires.

      Maasai though “nice! free wire for making jewelry!”.

    • At the end of that video one really sees how high the lava lake has risen close to the vent. That is the main reason that the western wall has not failed yet!

    • There was a small overflow for about half an hour (may 23 4.00-4.30 AM local time) somewhere in the eastern third of this wall, but I’m, surprised to see hardly a sign of it in these images.

        • Gutn Tag also casually mentions that they will build a wall at a later stage in Natthagi valley at its southernmost point.
          If it holds up as well as the western wall it might significantly increase the retaining capacity of the valley.
          Haven’t been able to find any confirmation for this plan though.

          • The reason that the western wall still holds is that the lava field is no longer expanding. Perhaps that is because much of the lava is going into building the small shield. It is becoming less predictable

  6. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the arm chair doomers. Mention of the eruption was made in a Telegram channel and my comment was to “Run!.” I immediately caught shit from passing self righteous moron who tried to assign bigotry to me. At that point I edified said fkwit about my long running advice regarding volcanoes. “Don’t be there!” is my mantra, no matter what volcano it is or what socioeconomic standing the nearby residents have.
    At the moment of the news of it, running was probably the best option because other avenues for escape are likely not available. You see, in “crisis management,” waiting for the ideal solution can easily get you killed. In an emergency, you go with what you have available.

    I then pointed out that this particular volcano has extremely low viscosity magma and can easily ruin your day. The time to get out was actually a couple of weeks ago… but as Carl points out… they don’t really have the facilities in place to see trouble coming.

    • It really looks like the molten lead that we used to make rifle pellets, on the kitchen stove when I was a nipper. I had my own small rifle aged 7 for target practice.

    • For me the best filmed part of crater so far. specially from around 2.40 in. Thanks..

    • Very artistic presentation by the drone operator ..
      Stunning composition ..

  7. Unconfirmed reports of a New Lava Lake at Nyiragongos summit! Volcanologist Doctor Dario Tedesco .. a long time Nyiragongo resident will soon post Photos from an overflight over Nyiragongo.

    Patrick Marcel .. Geologist
    – Not official… We’re waiting better pictures,
    but it seems that there is a new lava lake in the crater (seen by Tedesco during an helicopter fly)… We have to wait to be sure…

    : D The New lake is Probaly very active and churned up with huge gas bubble bursts and waves .. as the magma conduit risen again

    • New radar image of Nyiragono after the eruption. The crater has changed a lot

    • 2016 – 2021 hornito flows have surivived the drainout not collapsed into the pit.. looks like lava lake pit is relativly intact .. part of the crater wall sagged a little there

      This was only a shallow drainout connected to the upper lake

      If it was deep rift drainout
      Then the crater woud be drained to 1 km depth Leaving a huge deep pit

  8. Looking at the western dam I am surprised they used a vast amount of material to produce a dam where the valley is quite wide, when less material would have given a bigger and better (but narrower) dam a few hundred (?) yards north.
    If they intend damming Nátthagi valley then they should start now, commencing with getting the explosives guys in to produce large amounts of fill from the valley walls.

    • It was think be a diverting damm. so the flow get east and then south east/south down meradalir again..
      If build in narrow aria it get like a small bay that you cant divert flow get stucked and pressure build up.
      Should have work better maybe if they did little earlyer and divert slightly on an angle against theater hill. Think they just want stop it little and hope it take another way or stop.. 🙂

    • They actually tried to get permission for dams in Geldingadalir, according to the engineering representative at the Zoom webinar, but were not granted permission. You can only work within the parameters allowed…

  9. More from Þorvaldur at Icelanc Uni.

    What we are seeing now is a relatively good sign that this could develop into a dyngjos eruption, “says Þorvaldur Þórðarson, professor of volcanology at the University of Iceland, about the development in Geldingadalur. In a post on Þorvaldur’s facebook page and on the facebook page of the volcano and nature conservation group of the University of Iceland it is stated that the eruption in Geldingadalur has worked diligently in recent weeks to form a lava pond at crater 5a and on the platform above Nafnlausadalur. . It also states that the formation of such a lava pond is a basic condition for the formation of a lava shield or mound.

    Þorvaldur says in a conversation with that the pond that is forming above Nafnlausadalur pumps magma in almost all directions and maintains the flow in both Meradalur, Geldingadalur and through Nafnlausadalur and down to Nátthaga. When asked, Þorvaldur says that it is not unusual for such ponds to form. It is relatively common for such ponds to form which act as a kind of reservoir. Þorvaldur points out that at the same time the heat loss in the eruption decreases. “I now expect this to happen so that the lagoon builds up and rises and thus it would gradually suffocate the crater and then the heat loss decreases even more,” says Þorvaldur and points out that then the magma jet activity will stop but it causes a lot great heat loss.

    Þorvaldur says that in the case of a shield eruption, there is a pond that acts as a kind of reservoir that keeps the magma that comes out of the crater hot until it comes out of the transmission system. This means that it will be easier for the lava to flow from the source and gradually build up a lava shield.

    “If this is the development, there is a much better prospect that the eruption will continue. The less heat the magma loses, the more likely it is that it is easy for the magma to come up and keep it all open and consequently just continued eruptions and lava flows, “says Þorvaldur.

    Þorvaldur also points out that the development in Geldingadalur has been interesting. Both because the pond continues to expand and because the transport to Nafnlausadalur has been in closed channels. “Little by little, the eruption seems to be isolating both the transmission system and everything better, and it’s just a development in the right direction if we want to get an eruption that creates a lava shield,” says Þorvaldur. Does the formation of a lava shield indicate that the eruption will last long? “It does not hurt. Let’s just say it like that, “says Þorvaldur in the end.

    • Going to last decades this eruption will be just like Puu Oo 1983-2018

    • ” the pond that is forming above Nafnlausadalur pumps magma in almost all directions and maintains the flow in both Meradalur, Geldingadalur and through Nafnlausadalur and down to Nátthaga.”

      Is Nafnlausadalur the same as Anonymous Valley? Ah, thank you Google Translate, it is. I think “Nameless” is the literal translation?

      It’s good that it keeps filling Meradalur, the more going there the less go go towards the sea. There was still bright lava heading into it last night.

      • Namelessdale would be the most literal translation of Nafnlausadalur… And in Icelandic anonymous would be more towards “nafnleynd” literally “name secrecy”

        • I wonder what Mildly Moist Boggy Bit would be in Icelandic? Although I do believe that that description is now not applicable…

    • That is scary, yes it is lava… I guess there is more to this eruption than initially clear, the first flow was a radial vent but it seems there was a deeper intrusion after all, which might erupt. Curious though the lake draining was not through that rift, it might be too deep set.

      Or maybe it is the new lava cooled on top but still hot, but colour is wrong…

      Probably if there is glow without eruption there isnt much pressure so little risk of something huge but as with most stuff here all big unknowns…

      • Remember i read once about this aria and they say it is full of rifts and old tubes under. Because of the fluid lava it when it stop it drain the pipes and very easy for next erouption to find pathways. He write it can come up lava everywhere in princip. I would be very worried be in that aria for awhile now.

    • It is not possible to judge from this video where it is, what the scale is and what it is looking at. If that is lava then the person taking it is in serious and imminent danger. But the video shows no indication of heat coming from the crack. Note to VC readers: when taking a video of something interesting (to us), do show the area, and do show something that gives a sense of scale (apparently a geological hammer is perfect for that job). And stay away from lava.

      • I’d certainly be an enthusiastic reader of a second article about the whole area including the shield by you or Carl or maybe Jesper.

      • Yes, could be anywhere and anything. Could be fake, could be fun, could be serious, could be already shared thousand times => Could be social media.

    • One walks barefoot! on the Nephelinite pahoehoe there.. these feet must have some good Hardened Elephant skinn under that allows the person to go on this Razor Sharp Crust.

      There is nothing else thats sharper as natural surface as fresh pahoehoe! Pahoehoe in its fresh form can be so sharp that you are totaly shredded on the sharp crust. My own shoes been totaly shredded by Kilaueas glass surfaces

      Lava can be very sharp for soure

      • Jesper,

        Don’t know if you saw it, but I left a link to the fire video for you on the previous comment page.

      • That fire is just combustable gases that Burns out from the still very hot lava flows

        The Goma lava flows ( 2 meters thick ) will glow for many months inside and take a very long time to cool down. But I guess in the comming weeks that they will begin to buldooze away the lava flows

  10. Just watching the dam cam when I think I saw a plover hopping about the rocks. Hard to tell with such dreadful definition on the RUV kit.

      • It appears to show that there has been a small dam overflow in the past few hours.
        It looks like it has stopped for now, the other already overtopped dam rout is draining the pressure from the big one, possibly.

        • Looks to me the overflow from sunday morning. Different lighting brings out the contrast, or there has been a recent small overflow in the same spot.

      • @67doug thanks for the link; that’s the one I am using. Their signal is dreadful compared to the MBL cams but that may be due to YouTube being the carrier.

        • I believe the RUV cameras could never compete with the MBL ones as far as picture quality goes, but I don’t think the RUV rigs were as bad as they are now, from back in the day of watching The Twins.

          To be fair, some of the difficulties appear to stem from smoke/steam being emitted and thus messing up the focus to some extent. Mind you. I prefer to watch full screen, so that might well have something to do with it as well.

          Perhaps the bandwidth out of Iceland isn’t as good as it was previously (more usage, that is)?

          • I don’t know how the network is laid out in Iceland, but what if the bandwidth is completely destroyed when the lava in Nátthagi decides to flow over the optic cables? We may be at risk of losing the show completely!!! Quick, let’s start a crowdfunding project to build a ludicrously large dam and stop the lava before it’s too late.

    • Maybe if you send them an email they will refund your money?

    • 12.30.40 pm it hops into view for those intersted in birbs

      • They do serve as a nice diversion, don’t they? 🙂

        I have noticed more of the winged residents lately!

  11. Iceland. Nothing to complain really about the good cover with cameras. A great show. But now i feel little it would not be bad to place them in other angle and spots. Or maybe i am wrong. 🙂

      • You would need to know where this is and when this is. The earthquake is the most likely cause (a bit of a land slide underwater) but more information would be required to say anything. It is not overturning. Far too close to the shore for that.

        • Hello Albert! What you can say about the lava going down the volcano slope on live video?

        • I think the same. Maybe is caused by the earthquakes. New fissure degassing under the lake?
          Looking the small shoreline in the image, could be sudest of Goma, in a little bay near the epicenter of the big quakes. But it’s really difficult to know where is.

        • I’ll give you some info from that Belgian link: Two fissures were first seen today. They are several decimeters large it says a bit unprecisely. One of them is several hundred meters long, stretching from Mont Goma at the Northern city limits to – not nice – the hospital and down to lake Kivu. The other one, about one hundred meters long, appeared before lunch time near the airport in the North-West on the street leaving Goma and going to Butembo.
          Death count 32 so far.

          Important: A water reservoir seems to be hit, and there might be water shortage for 500k which means the whole city. Several streets are dammaged, 25.000 people have fled, 5000 houses are destroyed.

          US say Lava lake is refilling (probably seen from Space) and a second eruption is possible.

          People in Goma are afraid.

          If you speak or read French, tell me please, so I don’t do it again. It might be interesting for other readers though.

          • The road to Butembo is the main road running along the coast. That crack is perpendicular to any rifting. Was there some subsidence along the lake?

      • In worst case also be an eruption vent on Nyiragongos South flank .. many monogenetic scoria cones dot Goma area
        Lake eruptions make tuff cones or even .. small cone Islands. Etna 1669 is a good analouge for worst case in Goma with cinder cone formation in middle of a city one day the entire Goma will be destroyed by lava flows.
        Goma is built on top of Nyiragongos monogenetic flank field .. a New vent can erupt at anytime and knowing the size of the prehistoric flank cones its not like the fast but small drainouts.. but more like months long Hell.. quite scary with that possible huge cinder cone opening up in central Goma streets. Flank cones haves a Lecucite-Melinilite composition .. diffrent from the summits mainly Nephelinitic compositions.

        A maar explosion coud also kill hundreds at once in Goma .. since they are very violent

        Pheratomagmatic eruptions in the lake coud release huge ammounts of CO2

        This video is Probaly just a New small hydrothermal vent Thats been formed : )

        • its the stratified lake that is even bigger worry. Lake Neos with 2M people living on the shore. Truly the most dangerous volcano of the world.

      • Is there a volcano under lake Kivu?

        There could be, if it is in a rift zone. But is there known to be one?

    • Wow, I thought I had massive tinnitus until I muted the volume…

    • These livefeeds shows other volcanoes than Nyiragongo.. its fake
      Nyiragongo is very poorly monitored

      New lava flows on Nyiragongo?
      Where .. show me

      • The volcano on right is not the nyirangongo? I saw it there.

          • Ok then, but the sismogram of the right is from nyirangongo… at least they say it

          • So they say. I have not seen this seismograph anywhere else though so I expect it too is Indonesian

          • Geeezzz why this people do this things??? i don’t get it… thank’s and sorry.

          • I gave Nyiragongo into Google with phivolcs in order to see whether they had anything to say, what I got was Mayon on volcanodiscovery. I think you should take the link out I posted at 11.15. It might have to do with them, who knows.

          • Why do people do these things? To get traffic, ad views, and thus money, of course.

            That the current feed-the-rich-starve-everyone-else economic policies in most of the west make a lot of people desperate for money obviously doesn’t help.

      • Two parts I’ve picked out from the article linked:

        The southern part of the eruptive fissure, which opened at the end of the eruption, released gas-rich lavas as indicated by the lava fountains. This observation, together with the disequilibria analysis, indicates that this magma originated from a deeper source, probably located beneath the city of Goma. (2002 eruption)

        Methane bursts were also reported in Goma, south of Munigi (Figure 2) during the eruption [Komorowski et al., 2002/2003]. This methane could be stored in pockets [Tedesco et al., 2007] located within the sediments filling the Lake Kivu basin and might be released continuously via tectonic fractures throughout the whole region [Komorowski et al., 2002/2003]. The sudden fracturing associated with the 2002 eruption could have triggered the degassing.

  12. Big lava flows on Nyrangongo now! You can see on live video…
    Situation is worsening very fast…

    • Where is that link? No live video of Nyiragongo exist?

    • Thats not Nyrangongo. There are no livecams for that vulcano. The livestreams are from Merapi like the title of that streams says.

      • The title says: Live Merapi Indonesia & Nyiragongo Africa

      • I think if you look at the time stamps on the two videos, they are the same and are an Indonesian time zone.

  13. I’ve just seen a video of water boiling/bubbling in Lake Kivu on twitter next to Rubavu district.

  14. In case this is of any use I’d better post it here:

    I’ll give you some info from that Belgian link: Two fissures were first seen today. They are several decimeters large it says a bit unprecisely. One of them is several hundred meters long, stretching from Mont Goma at the Northern city limits to – not nice – the hospital and down to lake Kivu. The other one, about one hundred meters long, appeared before lunch time near the airport in the North-West on the street leaving Goma and going to Butembo.
    Death count 32 so far.

    Important: A water reservoir seems to be hit, and there might be water shortage for 500k which means the whole city. Several streets are dammaged, 25.000 people have fled, 5000 houses are destroyed.

    US say Lava lake is refilling (probably seen from Space) and a second eruption is possible.

    People in Goma are afraid.

    If you speak or read French, tell me please, so I don’t do it again. It might be interesting for other readers though.

    Copy of French link posted by Jesper:

  15. I’m already changing my mind, Carl. I think it’s spooky that the streets break even down to Lake Kivu if those news is correct. I find the big shield volcano in the North-West a bit spooky too.
    If the report is correct that the water level in Lake Kivu rose the whole area seems to be uplifted. That’s scary.

    • Is it uplift, or is it rifting/spreading?

      Either way it is scary though.

  16. The Krisuvik drumplot seems to show a couple of wet splats that have not yet made it into the quake charts.
    Also, tremor appears to have increased in Gri and Kri. It doesn’t seem to meet weather or people movements.
    I wonder if a change is coming?

  17. Last information from Dario Tedesco,
    the Nyiragongo crater floor collapsed…and the 2002 – 2021 summit lava lake is now gone .. !
    But I guess it will return soon


    First helicopter view of the Goma lava flows
    Mostly black Aa lava .. but the steel coloured lavas are sheet pahoehoes of near the vents
    Looks like a scary place .. with the steaming and burnt ground

    Summit lava lake is gone

    • The lava came out of more than one fissure, several by the looks or one large fissure with gaps.
      I would err on the side of caution and get people away from that, it looks like eruption paused rather than stopped.

    • That is a really alarming video. Those cracks are big.

  19. Someone please reassure me that that’s a grass fire on the RUV Langihryggur cam heading over the hill between Theatre Hill and the next bump south, where the track runs & all those spectators are climbing?

    • It looks like its a fire, but whether or not lava is rising to close the pass, the viewing hill is in the lavas sights, not much longer the way thinks are moving. If the big dam breaks it could change things quickly though maybe even save the viewing hill from isolation.

    • Sure looks like it! Funny thing, though….when the RUV camera did it’s closeup of the dam, it almost appears that there is lava built up along that area you describe. The bottom rounded part of Theatre Hill gets kinda cut off.

      But that’s probably due to the poorer resolution of the camera and other factors. (including my eyes).

  20. Prognosis for Goma in the very long run (imho), summary:
    “Lake Turkana is situated on the East African Rift and as with all parts of the Great African Rift system it is oldest to the North and youngest to the South. As such the volcanism will slowly continue to move southwards with time.”

    It’s the other branch, but it probably doesn’t matter.

  21. Mars update

    Ingenuity has completed flight 6 and seems to have landed safely at airfield “C”. This is the first of the “operational demonstration” flights with the colour camera specifically tasked to take imagery that may be useful to the Perseverance mission. The picture below was taken by Perseverance after landing at a distance of about 190 metres. Ingenuity was about 240 metres from Perseverance at its furthest point in flight.

    Map of flight also showing position of Perseverance

    “Perseverance Rover arrived at its last location on Sol 91, after driving a total of 360.15 meters.
    Ingenuity Helicopter has flown 6 times, spent 8.9 minutes in the air and traveled a total of 719 meters”

    • People standing around the lava flow is reminiscent of ants gathering around a drop of liquid ant bait.

    Just in – new
    #Sentinel1 VH radar image of #Nyiragongo and #Goma on May 25 showing the flank #lava flows erupted on May 22 (pre-eruption image is from May 19). Upper flows appear to originate near the Shaheru crater on the S flank of Nyiragongo.

    • Looks like it is very similar to 2002 and 1977, same rift even. That big lava flood flow in the video seems to be the flow that began at higher elevation, with the flow into Goma being the smaller one, lucky it was not the other way around. Only question now is if another eruption will happen lower down, a repeat of 2002 sees this as unlikely, but its hard to be that sure about anything in this situation.

  23. If you have a poor resolution image from the RUV Langihryggur camera, you can improve the quality by changing the resolution to 1080p60 HD in Settings.

    Move your cursor to the bottom right hand corner of the image, beneath the logo. Several icons should appear beneath the red progress bar line. Click the spiky round gear wheel icon that should show “Settings” when you hover over it. Select Quality and then select 1080p60HD. When the smoke clears and you can actually see something, you should have a much better quality picture.

  24. Interesting timelapse of the growth of Goma. The old lava flows of 20 years ago are almost totally built over.


    There is a new section of track to the theatre hill, on the RUV Langihryggur camera, well above the lowest section that will soon be consumed by lava. It is more or less a straight line from the extreme left of the existing track to the depression between the two hills before the climb to the top of the theatre hill. It might save a few twisted ankles if the construction crew could be persuaded to run a bulldozer over the track. A slab of beer might be enough persuasion.

    I hope I have provided a successful link to a cropped HD from the RUV cam image on imgur

  26. AFP Images YouTube video of cracks in Goma, live. They seem to go right down the middle of the road.

  27. Finished coffee #1 and as husband is on well earned leave (my body clock is geared to waking at 4.00am so I can see him off to work) So I can now go back to bed for an hour or two. I hope you enjoy this clip……

    ps Thank you Clive . I wondered what the white square thingy was. I presume the roller is there in case of a quick (?) escape. 😀 😀 😀

    • i did enjoy that! Thanks, Diana! Can’t wait for more parts.


    2021 Nyiragongo lava flows. It seems this eruption was a lot more like 1977 than 2002, being that most of the lava erupted out of a big fissure higher up with a fast flow, but the fissures did open further south down the flank than in 1977, more reminiscent of 2002 in that regard. Flow area is about 12.5 km2, if it is 2 meters thick like has been reported then the volume is about 25 million m3, it is probably thicker than that in Goma but thinner at the vents. This is similar to 2002 and 1977, so it seems the size of the lake is quite a good way to guess the eruption size. Last I saw the lake was in between the 1977 and 2002 levels.

    I dont think another eruption is immediately imminent, if a scoria cone was to form it would not be an eruption of Nyiragongo itself, more a secondary deep structure. But the fact there is still a lava lake is an important difference from 1977 or 2002, where lava lakes had to reform later and in fact never really got going at all after 1977 up until after 2002. That might mean the next such flank breakout is not going to be so distant, maybe only a few years instead of a few decades. It does also appear to confirm the Goma rift, it seems this is a shallow open structure a lot like the shallow southwest rift of Kilauea that connects directly into Halemaumau.

    It is quite interesting, there are no spatter cones at all, just a deep fissure, and yet there were some massive fountains reported. It does make you think about those similar flows in Hawaii, the 1823 flow that was an eruption just like this and often described as inexplicably silent, maybe it wasnt at all and just didnt last long enough to evolve beyond the curtain of fire stage.

    • Nyiragongo lost its lava lake
      100% confirmed by yesterday aircraft overflight …

      Chad How will the next lava lake look like ? I loves the fluid churned up look of Nyiragongos lava lakes .. waves and huge gas bubble bursts in with steam

      Perhaps the next lake .. will be even larger 🙂

      • Well then probably it will return in a few months to few years, begin the process again.

        I dont really want the lava lake to be bigger, it is already very lucky the pressure was not enough to drive the eruption fully into Goma or Kivu, it has stayed above the city. Lava flows are obviously deadly as we see but having the actually full force of the eruption itself within the city limits is far worse, in fact I would put that situation as the same danger as any pyroclastic eruption in the same place, it just takes a little bit longer for the certain death to happen… That situation would also almost certainly see the lava flood go into lake Kivu full force, where it would flow right into the bottom and probably set off the limnic eruption that is so feared.

      • The opening first 7 minutes of this Nyiragongo eruption was the stuff of insanity .. eruption rates 1000 s of cubic a second and a gigantic pyrocumulus rose up .. near the vents you cannot outrunn this stuff
        Near the vents it can be one centimeter thick or less

        It quickly cools and crystalizing under souch stress and eruption rates turning it into an Aa mess

      • Kilaūea 1823 and Nyiragongo drainouts are Probaly too fluid to buildup spatter cones and lasting too shortly I guess

        Or more likley : below
        Perhaps they erupt as insane long lines of dome fountains that really gush lava like a flood .. explaining the lack of cones when spatter is not thrown alot

        • Eruption rates this high will make true fountains, even if it is degassed. The fissure is too narrow for a dome fountain, they are usually around a meter wide or so, the great crack is bigger but that might be because it formed in an earthquake, or it was made that size later in 1868.

          I expect at Kilauea in 1823 the fountains could have been on the order of 40-90 meters high, not unlike some of those in 2018, particularly the middle section of the fissure that erupted the majority of the lava. Nyiragongo definitely does fountain, they are reported at all of its flank eruptions including now, probably just the nature of such an immense hydraulic head forced through a narrow space. At 2 km there is way more of an elevation difference from the vents to the lake than there is at Kilauea, probably the fountains get over 200 meters at really low vents in 2002, and spatter cones did form there.

  29. Does anyone know how close the lava is to making the Theater Hill into an island??

    • Good spot, Mots. It does appear very close to closing the Theater

    • A bridge to it would probably pay in tourist terms!
      Preferably a cheap swingy NZ suspension bridge type to add some frisson.

    • Last time i hear it was 10-12 m it need to flow over from the back of hill. But that some days ago. Can change fast. Think pathway higher than it looks. Haven’t find exactly map that show hight. If happens get long way from volcano to look.

    • In his latest update Gutn Tog estimates the lava in Geldingadalir is 5 m below “the neck” and rising (@1.40)

      • The wall will fall long before the neck submerges. But at the moment almost all the lava is going into Meradalir.

        • Thanks, Albert… i was a little concerned.. not much flat area to land a helicopter there. 🙂

        • I should say ‘all the visible lava’. Who knows what goes on below the surface

        • I wonder if the neck may become submerged from the western Geldingadalir side regardless of the dam to the east.
          Its true the dam may collapse and start draining the eastern side into Natthagi. However, there is considerable lava also sloshing into Geldingadalir that has no exit, apart from returning past the vent. And it may be prevented from returning past the the vent by the heap of lava and the remnants of the original Vent 1 bulked about it.
          So, it’s possible the neck may be swallowed in time from the west.

          • If I might add, I suppose it could drain to the north and east around the vent.
            Oh well, I’m probably not going to enter the annals of “great theories of the 21st century”.

          • That is true. Or it may become solid enough to allow for a big change in level between the neck and the dike (that seems to be happening further along the hill).

      • Two reflections on this:
        1) 5m implies that it may spill over to the south first.
        2) if the spillover happens at Theater Hill, then the west wall is a goner as a result.

    • GutnTog has a new video with a good shot of the saddle, he eyeballs it as 5m.

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