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DR Congo, Mount Nyiragongo: Journey to the center of the Earth

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At 1,300 feet deep, the lava lake has created one of the wonders of the African continent. Photo Olivier Grunewald.

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At the surface of the lake, bubbles of gas explode. The surface is permanently churned by fury from the earth’s crust. Photo Olivier Grunewald.

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Year after year, the lava reaches higher along the crater walls, until another breach or an eruption empties the vessel. Photo Olivier Grunewald.

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The permanent lava lake of the Nyiragongo is the biggest in the world, an estimated 282 million cubic feet of lava. In 1977 and 2002, the lava lake breached the crater, destroying a large part of the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo Olivier Grunewald.

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Mount Nyiragongo is the most active of the eight volcanoes forming the Virunga range. Photo Olivier Grunewald.

In June 2010, a team of scientists and intrepid explorers stepped onto the shore of the lava lake boiling in the depths of Nyiragongo Crater, in the heart of the Great Lakes region of Africa.
The team had dreamed of this: walking on the shores of the world’s largest lava lake.
Members of the team had been dazzled since childhood by the images of the 1960 documentaryThe Devil’s Blast” by Haroun Tazieff, who was the first to reveal to the public the glowing red breakers crashing at the bottom of Nyiragongo crater.
Photographer Olivier Grunewald was within a meter of the lake itself, giving us a unique glimpse of its molten matter. — Paula Nelson — Nyiragongo Crater: Journey to the Center of the World

Depiction of the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira vo...
Depiction of the Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes, based on data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, or Aster, and Landsat. Some lava flows (not all) from the 2002-01-17 eruption are shown in red. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Official Website of Virunga National Park

* Mount Nyiragongo


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