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Type of Hazard: Volcanic eruption.
Date of event Thursday 17th January 2002 at 9.30 local time
Location: Located in the centre of Africa at the eastern border of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda over
the East African Rift Valley 1
The Nyiragongo volcano is one of eight scattered along the
borders of Rwanda, Congo and Uganda, and is about 10
kilometres from the city of Goma which it partially destroyed.
Economic development stage DRC is a Low Income Country with GDP/capita of $400
although much of the economic activity still occurs in the
informal sector and is not reflected in the GDP due to
country-wide instability and conflict.2
Theme Facts, figures, references, key words (highlight), diagrams.
1. Causes The eruption was caused by rifting of the Earth's crust where two parts of the
Event profile: frequency, African Plate are breaking apart (Nubian and Somalian Plate).
Plate movement Plates pushed against each other on this divergent margin (or constructive) and
Plate margin type
earlier strong seismic activity (earthquakes) caused more cracks in the inner walls
of the volcano allowing lava to flow from these fissures (or cracks) out of the crater
The eruption was a flank eruption, as in from the sides of a volcano. Lava spilt
southwards in three streams reaching speeds of 60kph which is especially fast for a
stratovolcano (composite volcano).
The eruption shot more than 15 million cubic yards of lava into downtown Goma.
The eruption lasted for about 24 hours, although lava continued to flow for many
2. Physical The lava split into three streams, one of them flowing to the city of Goma, the other
impacts to the Lake Kivu
Impact on the
Extrusive activity Large areas were affected by acid rain from the volcanic gases as well as further
Intrusive activity pollution from their main water source, Lake Kivu, as one of the streams of lava
Volcanoes and hotspots went into it
Several aftershocks occurred, including one that measured 5 on the Richter scale
destroying more buildings after the eruption.
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The lava flowed across the runway at Goma airport burying a third of it and went
through the town splitting it in half with parts of it covered in up to 3m of lava.
The lava destroyed about 14 000 homes, 45 schools, 3 hospitals, commercial
buildings, roads and water pipes & set off explosions in fuel stores and power plants
(where looters got killed).
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World Fact Book)