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Ol Doinyo Lengai

Listed under Volcanoes in Tanzania.

  • Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
  • Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
  • Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
  • Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
  • Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
  • Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
  • Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
  • Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
Photo of Ol Doinyo Lengai
Photo by mikelyvers
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Lengai is the world’s most unique active volcano because it regularly erupts the rarest type of lava, carbonatite. This has a much lower melting point and lower viscosity than normal basaltic lava, thus the black molten streams that emerge from the chimney-like vents in Lengai’s crater look like oil and flow like water, later turning white when they cool. Sulphur minerals can add unusual colors to the cooling flows, which frequently form fantastically complicated shapes and patterns – a geological wonderland. Lengai’s crater is a very strenuous 6-7 hour climb accessed from a Masai village (which can only be reached via a lengthy 4WD journey) located in a wilderness area near the famous Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti wildlife parks. The lava chimneys can sometimes collapse, sending extremely fast-flowing floods of lava across the crater floor that have occasionally burned visitors, so be alert here and only go with a reputable local guide.

Written by  Mike Lyvers.

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