Lava lakes are actually large volumes of molten lava which are usually basaltic. The lava lakes can be either wholly or partly molten or solidified which are sometimes referred to as the frozen lava lakes. Such lava lake is also located in Congo by the name of Nyiragongo which is located inside Virunga National Park which is about 20 kilometers North of the town of Goma. The Nyiragongo lava lake is considered to be one of the most active volcanoes in Africa. The lava lake is not alone in the area but is one of the eight volcanoes located in the Virunga Mountains.
Nyiragongo’s lava lake is regarded as the most voluminous lava lake in recent history all over the world. The lava lake’s depth varies at times as a result of changes in volcanic eruptions. However, the maximum elevation was recorded at about 3250 meters in January 1977 when the volcano was heavily erupted.
Although it is known that the volcano is present for a long time, but the exact knowledge is not available. It is however known that since 1882, it has erupted for at least thirty four times. In these times, many occurrences have occurred where the volcanic activity continuously took place for years.
Considering the type of lava emitted from Nyiragongo which is fluid, it can be assumed that this happens due to the presence of melilite nephelinite which is an alkaline volcanic rock which is having rare unusual chemical composition. The lava can attain speed up to 60 miles per hour due to its extreme fluidity. This is an amazing fact about the lava as most lava flow at a walking pace and rarely endangers life.
The lava activity has proved bad luck for many when in January 1977 the lava drained due to weakening of its walls, killing about 70 villagers nearby. However, unofficial sources reported figures up to several thousand. It is not often attributed to the qualities of this lava that other lavas are neither such steep sided nor have such high mobility.
One of the other major eruptions also took place in January, 2002 where about 147 people died in the volcanic eruption, not directly from lava but the carbon dioxide and earthquakes due to the lava eruption. Now, the Nyiragongo lava’s activity is ongoing and is constantly filling up the lava lake. The lava is dangerous but is a beautiful sight to many people enjoying natural wonders.