The Kivu rift is located in the bordering region of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, in the western branch of the East African rift. Here, the active volcanoes Nyamulagira (the most active in Africa) and Nyiragongo (host to the largest persistent lava lake on Earth) threaten the city of Goma and neighboring agglomerations, and destructive earthquakes can also affect the region. Despite this high level of hazard, modern seismic monitoring infrastructure was lacking in the area until very recently, leaving many aspects about the volcanic activity and seismicity up to speculation. In order to remedy this unsatisfactory situation, the first dense real‐time telemetered broadband seismic network, KivuSNet, was deployed in the region, with the first two stations in 2012/2013 followed by six additional ones in 2014. Since October 2015, a network of 13 stations is running in the Kivu rift, and with currently seven additional stations in the process of installation, this network is under continuous development.
KivuSNet opens a new window for the seismological knowledge in this highly active rifting region. It allows for unprecedented insights into tectonic and volcanic seismicity, tremor patterns, and Earth structure as well as for sustainable real‐time monitoring of the volcanoes. Together with the often collocated KivuGNet geodetic stations, KivuSNet closes a dramatic observational gap in this region. This article presents the key features of the network, discusses technical aspects, and provides an overview of first results obtained using the thus far acquired data, showing KivuSNet’s wide potential.