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About This GigaPanToggle
- Taken by
- Vicenç Palà
- Explore score
- 0.05 Gigapixels
- Date added
- December 20, 2007
- Date taken
- October 08, 2007
EOS 7d + 70-200 mm
Ol Doinyo Lengai is a volcano located in the north of Tanzania and is part of the volcanic system of the Great Rift Valley in Eastern Africa. It is located in the eastern Rift Valley, south of both Lake Natron and Kenya. It is unique among active volcanoes in that it produces natrocarbonatite lava, a unique occurrence of volcanic carbonatite, which means its lava is only 510 degrees Celcius (or 950 degrees Fahrenheit). A few older extinct carbonatite volcanoes are located nearby, including Homa Mountain.
Whereas most lavas are rich in silicate minerals, the lava of Ol Doinyo Lengai is rich in the rare sodium and potassium carbonates, nyerereite and gregoryite. Due to this unusual composition, the lava is erupted at relatively low temperatures (approximately 500-600 degrees Celsius). This temperature is so low that the molten lava appears black in sunlight, rather than having the red glow common to most lavas. It is also much more fluid than silicate lavas. The sodium and potassium carbonate minerals of the lavas formed by Ol Doinyo Lengai are unstable at the Earth's surface and susceptible to rapid weathering, quickly turning from black to grey in color. The resulting volcanic landscape is different from any other in the world. The chemical makeup of the lava has been compared to dish soap.
"Ol Doinyo Lengai" means "Mountain of God" in the language of the native Maasai people.
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-P150