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Volcanic hazard at the Virunga volcanoes.

Nyiragongo Nyiragongo Nyiragongo

The volcano activity at Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira is a constant threat for the people living around the volcanoes. Even the city of Goma was partly devastated by a lava flow in 2002. While Nyamuragira has only 1 or 2 eruptions per year, Nyiragongo is hosting a lava lake inside it's crater. In 1977, the volcano broke off and vast amounts of lava spilled out to the lower volcano flanks.

NYAMURAGIRA eruption in 2011:

NEWS 07/11/11: Another eruption occured at Nyamuragira! Still ongoing on 01/12/2011
Image from the MODIS infrared sat shows the huge eruption site at Nyamuragira and the hot lava lake of Nyiragongo (south of it) end of Nov. 2011.

Report from VHDL-team visit in Jan. 2011:

A VHDL team (Szeglat, Edelmann, Boeckel, Rietze, Roscoe and Weber) visited the summit of Nyiragongo from 20 until 23 January 2011. A lava lake was active inside the crater.

Lava lake activity at Nyiragongo remained at high level into January 2011. The situation inside the crater has not changed much since the international June expedition report (Bulletin v. 35, no 9).

The torpography of the interior of Nyiragongos crater was found as discribed in Bulletin v. 35, no 9. Three upper terraces (b y g ) were recognized. The center of the carter (x) with it's lava lake was still at about 3,020 m altitude. Inside this lowest terrace (x) and behingd a ring wall (y), an active lava lake was oscillating during the 4 days of obeservatoin. The surface of the lava lake (e) was between 3,010 m and 3,020 m altitude. Convection of the lava lake surface and degassing fountains were observed in differnet intensities.


More images at "Geonauten" or at www.vulkane.net

Support the international protection of the mountain gorillas at the Virunga volcanoes.

vegetation on Nyiragongo Virunga volcano Mikeno Gorilla

The Virunga volcanic censervation area, which offers habitat to 380 of the world's 670 remaining mountain gorilla is one strategy to protect this specious. Some organisations and foundation take care in differnert matters to support protection.


The famous mountain gorillas live in the area of the Virunga Volcanoes. Some gorilla families live at Mikeno volcano and on the western slopes of the volcanoes of Sabinyo, Visoke, and Karisimbi. This area is part of the Republik of Kongo and threatened by some sort of civil war. The active volcanoes Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo also cause a higly potential threat to this area - also to the gorillas - because of volcanic acitivity.

What can we (you) do?

Some projects show what could be done:

FZS-Project 1281/02 [ Protection of the last mountain gorillas ] Virunga National Park Democratic Republic of Congo

The Virunga Mountains, straddling the international borders of Democratic Republic Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, are recognised as a important biodiversity hotspot. One of the first conservationists to discover the importance of the Virungas was Prof. B. Grzimek who pleaded for their conservation more than 30 years ago. Unfortunately, this border region has also been the site of terrible conflict and civil war. With increasing security in this region, Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) resumed the program for the protection of the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in the Virunga National Park in the year 2002. Today, there are only approximately 670 mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) alive. About half of them live in the mountainous forests around the Virunga volcanoes. A second population lives in the Bwindi National Park in Uganda. There are currently no mountain gorillas in captivity. Therefore, the mountain gorilla is not only one of the rarest, but also one of the most threatened mammals on earth.

The goal of the Gorilla Conservation Programme in the Virunga National Park is to secure the protection of these last mountain gorillas and to conserve their habitat. [Without their forest habitat mountain gorillas cannot survive] The Virunga volcanoes and the Bwindi Impentrable Forest form a cross-border forest system in the border triangle between the Democratic Republic Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. This region is not only extremely rich in species, it also harbors many endemics, i.e. species that occur nowhere else on earth. The Virunga National Park - established 1925 - is the oldest park in Africa. Like Bwindi, it is also a UNESCO world heritage site. With their mosaic of different ecosystems, both areas exhibit a biodiversity of global importance.

In the past three years, the political disturbance in the Democratic Republic Congo, as well as numerous fugitives from the neighbouring country Rwanda have put great pressure on the National Park. Destruction of their forest habitat and newly increasing poaching threaten the last mountain gorillas massively. After a break of 17 years, several gorillas became victims of poachers in the year 2002. Entire families are killed in order to sell gorilla babies at supposedly horrendous sums. Without the intense monitoring of the gorillas by the rangers of the National Park, the last mountain gorillas and their forest habitat will disappear in front of our eyes. [Practical support for the gorillas ] In the Virunga National Park, FZS collaborates closely with the Institute Congolese for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) and the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP) for the protection of the gorillas. In 1991, the IGCP was established by several international conservation organisations to co-ordinate protection measures more effectively. The goal of FZS activities is to improve the monitoring abilities of the National Park, as well as to optimise the park management.
FZS therefore supports:

Provisions of the ranger patrols in the south of the park (Rumangabo)
. Acquisition of tents, uniforms and equipment for rangers in the gorilla zones
. Installation of a HF radio network for the southern part of the park and a VHF radio network for the patrols in the gorilla areas
. Solar panels for power supply
. Equipment and salaries for the monitoring of the gorillas
. Provision of medicines and medical equipment for the pharmacy in Rumangabo Project leaders: Robert Muir and Helen HagueProject partners: Institute Congolaise pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN), International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP)

Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe e.V. (www.berggorilla.de/english/frame.html) oder www.berggorilla.com

Organisationen who help to protect the gorillas:

Gorilla fundation International (Dian Fosses) (www.informatics.org/gorilla/)

Other links:

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