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Authors: Coppola, Diego* 
Campion, Robin* 
Laiolo, Marco* 
Cuoco, Emilio* 
Balagizi, Charles M.* 
Ripepe, Maurizio* 
Cigolini, Corrado* 
Tedesco, Dario* 
Title: Birth of a lava lake: Nyamulagira volcano 2011–2015
Journal: Bulletin of volcanology 
Series/Report no.: /78 (2016)
Publisher: Springer
Issue Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1007/s00445-016-1014-7
Abstract: Since 1938, Nyamulagira volcano (Democratic Republic of Congo) has operated as a classic pressurized basaltic closed system, characterized by frequent dike-fed flank eruptions. However, on June 24, 2014, an active lava lake was observed in its summit, after a period of 76 years. The small lava lake is now exposed at the bottom of a pit-crater and is rising and growing. Based on satellite-derived infrared (IR) data, SO2 fluxes and periodic field surveys, we provide evidence that the development of the lava lake was gradual and occurred more than 2 years before it was first observed in the field. Notably, this process followed the voluminous 2011–2012 distal flank eruption and was coeval with weakening of the central rock column below the summit. Hence, the opening and development of the pit-crater favoured the continuous rise of fresh magma through the central conduit and promoted the gradual “re-birth” of the Nyamulagira lava lake. Budgeted volumes of magma erupted, and magma degassed at depth indicate that the formation of the lava lake is due to the draining and refilling of a shallow plumbing system (1–2 km depth), probably in response to the rift-parallel 2011–2012 distal eruption. We thus suggest that the transition from lateral to central activity did not result from a substantial change in the magma supply rate but, more likely, from the perturbation of the plumbing system (and related stress field) associated with the distal eruption. The processes observed at Nyamulagira are not unique and suggest that rift-fissure eruptions, in addition to triggering caldera collapses or lava lake drainages, may also induce a progressive resumption of central vent activity. Current activity at Nyamulagira represents a tangible and major hazard for the population living at the base of its southern flank.
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