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Like Catania with Etna, or Naples with Vesuvius, Goma is strongly connected with the nearby volcano, Nyiragongo. In recent years Nyiragongo has become more dangerous. In January 2002, lateral vents opened even inside the city, covering parts of it quickly with lava flows. Luckily, the eruption lasted less than 12 hours. Nevertheless the effects were devastating.
Market in Gisenyi with Nyiragongo towering in the background. Gisenyi (Rwanda) and Goma (Congo) are now a single town on Lake Kivu, divided only by a "hypothetical" border.
This street in Goma was invaded in 2002 by a lava flow about 2m thick, which is now used as a street. Now one has to climb down to reach the former ground floors of the shops.
All the countryside around the city of Goma is dominated by the tall and permannetly smoking volcano, forming a perfect silhouette along the horizon.
The permanent red glow of the lava lake reflected by the thick volcanic plume above Nyiragongo is a common feature of the nights in Goma.
The 2002 lava flows were so fast that people only had the time to escape: trucks simply had to be abandoned.
These ghost trucks have become home for the poorest of poor local families. Barefoot on pahoehoe lava...
The flows even lifted and toppled some trucks despite their weight of many tons.
Some trucks were almost completely buried by the highly liquid pahoehoe flows whereas some cars "floated" along with them.
Goma Volcano Observatory: Stephane and the observatory's Director discuss the gas content of Lake Kivu.
Director Célestin Kasereka Mahinda explains the geology of Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira volcanoes.
He then shows us the real-time seismograms provided by the seismic network around Nyiragongo volcano.
Honoré shows Stephane the temperature evolution of Nyiragongo's North-South fissure.