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Report on Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania) — 5 April-11 April 2006

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 2006
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2006. Report on Ol Doinyo Lengai (Tanzania). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 April-11 April 2006. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (5 April-11 April 2006)


Ol Doinyo Lengai

Tanzania

2.764°S, 35.914°E; summit elev. 2962 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


On Frederick Belton's Ol Doinyo Lengai website, information was compiled about the activity that began around 30 March. According to the site, a bush pilot reported that a lava flow and lava fountains were emitted on the 30th, but there were no ash emissions. A steam plume was visible that may have been mistakenly described as ash in news reports. According to an observer in Tanzania, on 4 April a very large lava flow was visible on the volcano's W flank. The lava flow was over 1 km long and had traveled down the flank of the volcano and into a gorge. There were no signs that the flow was still hot. Photographs revealed that another lava flow may have traveled W of the volcano on 3 or 4 April. On 7 or 8 April, active lava was contained within a new lava lake. Contrary to news reports, a local tour operator stated that there were no evacuations from villages near the volcano.

Geologic Background. The symmetrical Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only volcano known to have erupted carbonatite tephras and lavas in historical time. The prominent stratovolcano, known to the Maasai as "The Mountain of God," rises abruptly above the broad plain south of Lake Natron in the Gregory Rift Valley. The cone-building stage ended about 15,000 years ago and was followed by periodic ejection of natrocarbonatitic and nephelinite tephra during the Holocene. Historical eruptions have consisted of smaller tephra ejections and emission of numerous natrocarbonatitic lava flows on the floor of the summit crater and occasionally down the upper flanks. The depth and morphology of the northern crater have changed dramatically during the course of historical eruptions, ranging from steep crater walls about 200 m deep in the mid-20th century to shallow platforms mostly filling the crater. Long-term lava effusion in the summit crater beginning in 1983 had by the turn of the century mostly filled the northern crater; by late 1998 lava had begun overflowing the crater rim.

Source: Ol Doinyo Lengai (Fred Belton)