#EarthDay: Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano situated in the Virunga Mountains of the Albertine Rift inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The volcano has an elevation of 3,470 m (11,385 ft).
The main crater is about two km wide and usually contains a lava lake (see photo) that has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. Not much is known about how long the volcano has been erupting, but since 1882, it has erupted at least 34 times with the two most recent eruptions occurring in 1977 and 2002, both resulting in destruction of nearby human habitats and loss of lives, mostly due to asphyxiation by carbon dioxide.
Activity at Nyiragongo is ongoing, but currently confined to the crater.
Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to a total of five different active and extinct volcanoes.