Lifestyle & Belief

Volcano erupts in eastern Congo (VIDEO)


Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira (also known as Nyamulagira), located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, began erupting November 6, 2011.


Virunga National Park

Africa's most active volcano, Nyamuragira in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, began erupting Sunday night, staff at the Virunga National Park said.

The volcano, also known as Nyamulagira, is located within the park, and is about 25 miles north of the town of Goma near the eastern Congo's border with Rwanda. 

Virunga National Park is famous for its population of critically endangered mountain gorillas, also found in Rwanda and Uganda. 

Nyamuragira has erupted 27 times since 1938, with eruptions continuing for days, weeks or sometimes even months, park rangers said.

In a blog post, Virunga park staff described the eruption as a "spectacular fire show."

The eruption could be seen clearly from park headquarters — probably the best view you could ask for. It appears that the eruption is not happening on the volcano itself, but on the side and lower to the ground.

In a press statement, the park said that scientists are monitoring the volcanic activity and lava flow, but it "appears to be of no danger at this time to the surrounding population and the city of Goma, or the mountain gorillas and other wildlife." 

Scientists are also monitoring an area north of the volcano called Tongo, where a population of habituated chimpanzees live.

Nyamuragira is located near another active volcano in Virunga National Park, called Nyiragongo, which in 2002 famously sent a lava flow through the city of Goma, covering a fifth of the city.

Tourist treks from Goma to the rim of Nyiragongo volcano are continuing as usual, the park said.

There are about 200 mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park, but the animals have in recent decades faced threats including poachers and civil war. Rebel groups and the Congolese army have at various times occupied parts of the park.

More than 140 rangers have been killed trying to guard the park and its gorillas since 1996.

More from GlobalPost: In Goma, living beneath a volcano