Hidden in Central Africa is a burning lake that looks like it was borrowed from the movie Lord of the Rings.
This lake is the way to the middle of the planet where the temperature of the liquid rocks is up to 1000 degrees Celsius and it looks like ‘soup is boiling in the devil’s pot’.
According to volcanologist Benoit Smitz, the volcanic eruption in the Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is one of the largest and living volcanoes in the world. Volcanologist Smiths Ninoit has been researching the volcano for about five years.
The 260-meter-wide pool of fire can be seen from the crater. It contains about 6 million cubic meters of lava, enough to fill 2,500 Olympic swimming pools.
Fire and Sulfur:
The Nyiragongo volcano has been erupting continuously since 2002, making it one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
When lava erupts, gas also escapes from the centre of the volcano, causing it to cool and sink back into it.
This constant process of heating and then cooling the lava produces a waterfall-like sound, during which gas explosions are also heard that raise the flames of the burning lava up to ten meters in the air.
“There is no other place like it on the planet,” says Benoit Smitz. “Standing on the edge of a volcano, you realize that the earth is a living thing and that we humans are the smallest creatures on the planet.”
An amazing glow:
Occasionally when this volcanic pool is covered with steam, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, the lava lake is invisible, but sometimes it is so clear that this ‘burning beauty’ of the lake is clearly visible. And the scenery of this seven hundred meter deep lake looks like a warm glow on the faces of those who come here.
The scene is even more breathtaking at night when the red and black tips of these molten rocks glow in the dark and the heat from the glowing pond spreads like an orange light in the sky.
The gate of hell:
There are many mysterious stories about Nyiragongo among the locals.
Many believe that it is “the abode of the souls of Hell,” while many believe that it is a way to another world where “the souls of sinners are burned.”
On the other hand, the souls of the righteous go to another nearby mountain, Carisambi, in Rwanda, which is a motionless volcano covered with ice.
Some people think that lava erupts in Nyiragongo when evil spirits get angry. And when that happens, locals pray to cool the volcano.
There are also rumours that virgin girls were thrown into the volcano during these centuries of worship.
Friend or foe:
Nyiragongo DR is located east of the Congo near the Rwandan border.
This volcano is very close to the city. The city is only 18 km away. “The people of this city are scared and ignore it,” said Ruth Amrungi, the only female guide here.
“We live close to something that could cause a terrible catastrophe, but we can’t live our lives in fear.”
“There is nothing we can do if we continue to care about the consequences. The positive thing about this volcano is that tourists come here. Researchers and the media also come in, which helps create jobs and help local businesses.
“It also raises awareness about the security of the area.”
Garden Of Paradise:
Nyiragongo is located in the Virunga National Park on the Congo’s border with Rwanda and Uganda.
It is the oldest and most biologically diverse region in Africa, home to approximately one-third of the world’s wild gorillas.
There are eight volcanoes, two of which are still active. They came into being about three million years ago due to the tectonic power of the planet.
The forces of nature:
At any given time, there are five to eight lava layers on the planet. One of the reasons for such a small number is the unusual conditions required for its formation.
Volcanologist Kenneth Sims says “this requires a lava flow very close to the surface that is connected to a volcanic system that can move the lava upwards.”
Sims has climbed Nyiragongo dozens of times to study this lava lake.
“The density of the lava must also be accurate. The amount of silica in this lava is less than 50%, which enables it to flow more (silica makes the lava more viscous),” he said.
“It simply came to our notice then. That’s why lava lakes, especially Nyiragongo, are so rare. “