It is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470m(11,380ft) in the virunga mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. It is located inside Virunga national park, in the Democratic republic of Congo, about 20km north of the town of Goma and lake Kivu and west of the border with Rwanda. The main crater is about two kilometers (1mi)wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls one at about 3,175m ( 10,417ft) and a lower one at about 2,975m (9,760ft). Nyiragongo’s lava lake has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. A maximum elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 3,250m (10,660ft) prior to the prior to the January 1977 eruption a lake depth of about 600m (2000ft). A recent very low elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 2,700m (8,900ft).
Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamurangira are together responsible for 40% of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.