New eruption of Mount Nyamuragira, Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The Nyamuragira volcano, also called Nyamlagira, is the most active volcano in Africa. On 27 November, around 22:00 local time, it erupted yet again.

Date & Time
29 November 2006 00:00 UTC
Satellites
Meteosat-8, Aura, Terra/Aqua
Channels/Products
WV6.2–WV7.3, IR9.7–IR10.8, WV6.2

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More information and detailed analysis of the feature can be found in the In Depth section.

 

In Depth

by Jochen Kerkmann and Alexander Jacob (EUMETSAT)

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It is a 3056 m high massive basaltic shildvolcano located within the Virunga National Park, north of Lake Kivu and north-west of Nyiragongo, a neighboring volcano. Lava from Nyamuragira covers 1500 square km of the East African Rift and has come as far as 30 km from the volcano, even down to Lake Kivu.

Besides ash and possible lava, when the volcano erupted in November it released large amounts of sulphur dioxide (SO2). The SEVIRI instrument on Meteosat-8 tracked the emission of SO2 and the corresponding plume at 15 minute intervals. SEVIRI has two channels, the WV7.3 and the IR8.7 channels, that are principally sensitive to high SO2 concentrations (see figure, GIF, 22 KB, courtesy CIMSS, University of Wisconsin and CSIRO).

The images below show the situation about 36 hours after the start of the eruption when the area was less cloud covered. In the left image, which presents the so-called 'Ash RGB', the sulphur dioxide cloud is shown in green colour. This RGB exploits the SO2 absorption band at around 8.6 microns (SEVIRI IR8.7 channel).

Although not designed for SO2 monitoring, the 'Airmass RGB' shown in the right image also shows the long SO2 plume over the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It exploits the much stronger SO2 absorption band at around 7.3 microns (SEVIRI WV7.3 channel), and as long as the SO2 plume is above 3 km height it is principally able to detect high SO2 concentrations. Indeed. the cooling effect of the SO2 cloud on the WV7.3 channel leads to small Brightness Temperature Differences between the WV6.2 and the WV7.3 channels, which is displayed on the red colour beam of the Airmass RGB. Thus, mid/high-level SO2 clouds from volcanic eruptions appear with a reddish/orange colour in this RGB composite.

The movement of the SO2 cloud can be easily followed in the animations, given in the links below the images and under 'See also'. Although the SO2 concentration in the cloud gets lower and lower with increasing distance from the source, careful inspection of the animations shows that the SO2 cloud moved westward and northward into the Central African Republic, Chad and Cameroon.

More information about the movement of the SO2 cloud can be obtained from the data of specialised instruments like the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on the Aura platform. The OMI data confirms that the SO2 plume first travelled westward and then moved in a clockwise direction toward the northeast, eventually reaching India (see Aura/OMI average SO2 concentration, JPG, 248 KB, source: S. Carn, UMBC).

 

Meteosat-8 Images

Met-8, 29 November 2006, 11:00 UTC
RGB Composite (Ash RGB)
IR12.0–IR10.8, IR10.8–IR8.7, IR10.8
Large Area (JPG, 392 KB)
Animation (05:30–11:15 UTC, AVI, 2 MB)
Met-8, 29 November 2006, 11:00 UTC
RGB Composite (Airmass RGB)
WV6.2–WV7.3, IR9.7–IR10.8, WV6.2
Large Area (JPG, 287 KB)

See also:

RGB composite IR12.0-IR10.8, IR10.8-IR8.7, IR10.8 (29 Nov., 14:00 UTC, JPG, 302 KB, source: SAWS)
RGB composite IR12.0-IR10.8, IR10.8-IR8.7, IR10.8 (30 Nov., 06:00 UTC, JPG, 414 KB)
Animation RGB composite IR12.0-IR10.8, IR10.8-IR8.7, IR10.8
(28 Nov 00:00 UTC–29 Nov 23:45 UTC, MPG, 10 MB)
Animation RGB composite IR12.0-IR10.8, IR10.8-IR8.7, IR10.8
(29 Nov 12:00 UTC–29 Nov 23:45 UTC, MPG, 5 MB)
Aura/OMI average SO2 concentration
(28 Nov–4 Dec 2006, JPG, 248 KB, source: S. Carn, UMBC)
Animation of Aura/OMI SO2 concentration
(28 Nov–4 Dec 2006, MOV, 1 MB, source: S. Carn, UMBC)
AIRS SO2 concentration
(29 Nov 2006, 00:05 UTC, PDF, 392 KB, source: F. Prata)
Volcanic eruption of Mt. Nyamuragira (10 May 2004)
Volcanic eruption of Mt. Nyiragongo (12 July 2004)
Meteosat-8 observing Karthala eruption (29 May 2006)

 
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