Detailed multidisciplinary monitoring reveals pre- and co-eruptive signals at Nyamulagira volcano (North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo)

Benoît Smets, Nicolas d'Oreye, François Kervyn, Matthieu Kervyn, Fabien Albino, Santiago R. Arellano, Montfort Bagalwa, Charles Balagizi, Simon A. Carn, Thomas H. Darrah, José Fernández, Bo Galle, Pablo J. González, Elisabet Head, Katcho Karume, Deogratias Kavotha, François Lukaya, Niche Mashagiro, Georges Mavonga, Patrik NormanEtoy Osodundu, José L.G. Pallero, Juan F. Prieto, Sergey Samsonov, Muhindo Syauswa, Dario Tedesco, Kristy Tiampo, Christelle Wauthier, Mathieu M. Yalire

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42 Scopus citations


This paper presents a thorough description of Nyamulagira's January 2010 volcanic eruption (North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo), based on a combination of field observation and ground-based and space-borne data. It is the first eruption in the Virunga Volcanic Province that has been described by a combination of several modern monitoring techniques. The 2010 eruption lasted 26 days and emitted ~45.5 × 106 m3 of lava. Field observations divided the event into four eruptive stages delimited by major changes in effusive activity. These stages are consistent with those described by Pouclet (1976) for historical eruptions of Nyamulagira. Co-eruptive signals from ground deformation, seismicity, SO2 emission and thermal flux correlate with the eruptive stages. Unambiguous pre-eruptive ground deformation was observed 3 weeks before the lava outburst, coinciding with a small but clear increase in the short period seismicity and SO2 emission. The 3 weeks of precursors contrasts with the only precursory signal previously recognized in the Virunga Volcanic Province, the short-term increase of tremor and long period seismicity, which, for example, were only detected less than 2 h prior to the 2010 eruption. The present paper is the most detailed picture of a typical flank eruption of this volcano. It provides valuable tools for re-examining former-mostly qualitative-descriptions of historical Nyamulagira eruptions that occurred during the colonial period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number787
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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