A new map of the lava flow field of Nyamulagira (D.R. Congo) from satellite imagery

Benoît Smets, Christelle Wauthier, Nicolas d'Oreye

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58 Scopus citations


Nyamulagira (3058. m a.s.l.), a volcano of the Virunga volcanic province in the western branch of the East African Rift, is Africa's most active volcano with one eruption every 2-4. years. It represents a hazard for the Virunga National Park and its vicinity. Despite such a frequent activity, Nyamulagira remains poorly studied. The only existing volcanological map was produced in the sixties by Thonnard et al. (1965). The occurrence of 19 eruptions since its publication makes it obsolete. In the present study we mapped the Nyamulagira lava flows from 1938 up to the last eruption to date in 2010 using optical (Landsat, ASTER) and radar (ENVISAT-ASAR, ERS, JERS) imagery. The results are integrated into a Geographical Information System (GIS) and coupled with additional data sources. GIS use makes the new database a flexible - and easy-to-update - tool for scientific purposes as well as for risk, environmental and humanitarian management. Here a new lava flow map was produced. Volumes of the successive lava flows and affected areas of the Virunga National Park were estimated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-786
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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