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United Nations Helicopter Flight to Nyamuragira Volcano

D.R. Congo - Feb. 2016
Photos from our visit to the remote and infrequently visited Nyamuragira volcano in eastern Congo. We were transported to the volcano by United Nations helicopter after days of delay and poor weather.
 
This was the second volcano we visited on this expedition, after having already descended down inside the nearby Nyiragongo volcano days earlier.
Both volcanoes contain lakes of lava, a rare phenomenon.

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Our first glimpse of the Nyamuragira volcano as we apprach in the helicopter.
Touching down! The weather was good, so the chopper was able to land inside the caldera of Nyamuragira.
The United Nations Oryx helicopter team was from South Africa, and were completely badass.

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Our first peek down inside the Nyamuragira crater. 200 meters down was a very large, and very odd shaped lava lake.
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A line of small lava fountains and bubbles on the Nyamuragira lava lake.

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Mark Robinson, filming the lava from the craters edge.
One of hundreds of steam vents scattered around the caldera floor at Nyamuragira volcano. The surrounding vegetation all died during a big eruption in 2011, leaving behind an alien landscape.
A wide shot, showing the vastness and depth of Nyamuragira crater. It is about 200 meters deep

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Gettin
The overlook. Almost straight down to the lava.
Cooler lava forms plates or rafts of rock that move across the surface, then eventually get recycled into the liquid rock.

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Veins of lava on the surface of Nyamuragira volcano's lake of lava.
Setti

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Abstract patterns in the lava at Nyamuragira.
Vigorous lava bubbles at Nyamuragira.
After 4 hours at the volcano, our ride comes back to pick us up and return us to the city of Goma.

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One last look inside the Nyamuragira volcano as we circle overhead with the doors open. From here we had to fly back very low and very fast because of nearby armed rebel activity.
Because of so much activity from the heavily armed M-23 rebel groups in the area between the volcano & the city of Goma, the chopper pilots had either fly really high, or low and fast... They chose to fly low and fast. It was a rush, especially with the doors open.

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