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The white volcano of the Massai

THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD

Ol Doinyo Lengai, which in Maasai means “Mountain of God”, is the only volcano that emits so-called “white lava”. It is located south of Lake Natron, at the southern end of the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley, in northwestern Tanzania.

It is the only active volcano with a carbonate lava composition. Natro-carbonatite”, a lava rich in sodium and potassium carbonate after emission, sees the alteration of these minerals with moisture whitening the surface of the lava.  With a viscosity very close to that of water, its lava is the most fluid in the world, and also the coldest, with temperatures of only 590º Celsius. As it cools, the lava turns completely white. This unique landscape of a white lava volcano and the origin of its composition, the traces of successive collapses and debris avalanches are the subject of numerous scientific studies.

Recent studies show the possibility of future collapses and therefore the need for continuous monitoring.


This photo of Loliondo is courtesy of Tripadvisor

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