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Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, Tanzania


Ol Doinyo Lengai means "Mountain of God" in Massai language. It is a steep around 2900 m high stratovolcano located in a section of the East-African rift valley in northern Tanzania, near the Ngorongongo and Serengeti National parks. The volcano is known for its unique type of natrocarbonatite lava and as such it is the only known active natrocarbonatite volcano on earth.

In August 2003, Tom Pfeiffer together with Marco Fulle, Stephane Granier and Martin Rietze undertook an expedition to this volcano organized by Fred Belton, is a passionate and experienced climber of Lengai since many years and guides an excellent expedition.

During our stay, the activity was generally at a low level, but remarkable by its explosive character, which is regarded unusual for Lengai. All activity was confined to two cinder cones (misleadingly called hornitos, named T56B and T58B), which showed variable activity of lava fountains and strombolian activity, interrupted by repeated and spectacular collapses of the cones themselves.

Photos / Videos: Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, Tanzania

1-4 August 2003, strombolian activity and lava fountains (33 photos).

4-7 August 2003, strombolian activity and lava fountains (20 photos).

Colors of lava and aerial photos from 30 July 2003 (14 photos).

People around Lengai and Maasai market (24 photos).

Video footage - lava fountains, a lava lake and spattering cones. (15 Videoclips)


Fred Belton's homepage - general information, frequent activity reports, maps and further links. Fred is an excellent expedition organizer offering tours to Ol Doinyo Lengai.

The Oldoinyo Lengai web site by Celia Nyamweru - a comprehensive source on the geology and volcanic history of Lengai.

Stromboli On Line's pages about Lengai - abundant and spectacular photos and videos by Marco Fulle and Robert Carniel in 2001, and Marco's photos from 2003.

Smithsonian Global Volcanism Network: The most comprehensive scientific source on the net containing detailed maps, activity reports and photos of Lengai.

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Tom Pfeiffer.

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Tom Pfeiffer, page last modified on 25 August 2003.