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Modeling of InSAR displacements related with the January 2002 eruption of Nyiragongo volcano (DRC)

Christelle Wauthier(1), Valérie Cayol(2), Nicolas d'Oreye(3) and François Kervyn(1)

(1) Royal Museum for Central Africa, Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren, Belgium
(2) Université Blaise Pascal, rue Kessler 5, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
(3) National Museum of Natural History, rue Josy Welter 19, L-7256 Walferdange, Luxembourg


Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira volcanoes are located in North Kivu (Democratic Republic of Congo) in the western branch of the east African rift system. This area is complex both from the point of view of the Rift tectonics and the volcanism. Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira haven’t been much studied, in great part due to political and security tensions taking place in the whole country. On 17th January 2002, Nyiragongo erupted along a 17 kilometers long fracture network extending from the southern flank of the volcano to Goma city and its airport. The InSAR data associated with this eruption show a complex ground displacements pattern. These displacements most likely result from the combination of magmatic activity and regional tectonics. A method based on the combination of a 3D Mixed Boundary Element method and a neighbourhood inversion algorithm, is used to analyse the InSAR displacements. Several possible stress sources are studied and discussed: a subvertical dyke, a deflating reservoir and normal faults. It seems that, at least, two of these sources are needed to explain the interferometric signal. A dyke associated to the eruptive fissures and a normal fault parallel to the east African rift close to Goma seems the most likely combination.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry