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Travel: Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania’s mystical stratovlcano

Tanzania is the land of wonders and shall forever remain so. One of the mysteries of this East African country is Ol Doinyo Lengai stratovolcano in the Gregory Rift of Arusha.Ol Doinyo Lengai is strangely one of the last active volcanoes in the African continent producing unique deposits known as natrocarbonatite lava. Its name was derived from a Maasai word, Ol Doinyo Lengai, meaning “the mountain of God”. The stratovolcano oozes deep mystery due to its active volcanic activity centuries later. There are very few places in the world with active stratovolcano mountains.A stratovolcano has several layers of lava, compact ash and rocks that formed after many other eruptions.The fascination of Ol Doinyo Lengai is immeasurable. This stratovolcano cuts through East Africa’s Rift Valley towering at 2000m with a summit elevation of 2890m. When at its peak in underground operations, the mountain erupts carbonatite lava which amazed scientists after its discovery in the 1960s. What is interesting about the lava eruption is that they are silica-based on natroncarbonate!What’s unique about the carbonatite lava flow from the Ol Doinyo Lengai is its rich nature in sodium and potassium carbonites – very rare – as well as gregoryite and nyerereite deposits which make it appear shiny black in the sun due to the low temperatures in the mountains. In other cases, lava flow appears red hot.

Source: Further Africa

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