Modeling the Intermittent Lava Lake Drops Occurring Between 2015 and 2021 at Nyiragongo Volcano

D. Walwer, C. Wauthier, J. Barrière, D. Smittarello, B. Smets, N. d’Oreye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Between 2015 and 2021, Nyiragongo's lava lake level experienced a linear increase punctuated by fast intermittent drops. These drops occurred synchronously to seismic swarm at approximately 15 km below the surface and extending laterally NE from the volcano. To interpret these lava lake level patterns in terms of reservoirs pressure evolution within Nyiragongo, we consider the following simplified plumbing system: a central reservoir is fed by a constant flux of magma, distributing the fluid up into the lava lake and laterally into a distal storage zone. Magma transport is driven by a pressure gradient between the magma storage bodies, accommodating influx and outflow of magma elastically, and the lava lake. Lateral transport at depth occurs through a hydraulic connection for which the flow resistance is coupled to the magma flux. When the right conditions are met, lateral magma transport occurs intermittently and triggers intermittent lava lake level drops matching the observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2022GL102365
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 28 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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