Due to this unusual composition, the lava is erupted at relatively low temperatures (approximately 500-600 °C). This temperature is so low that the molten lava appears black in sunlight, rather than having the red glow common to most lavas. It is also much more fluid than silicate lavas.
The sodium and potassium carbonate minerals of the lavas erupted at Ol Doinyo Lengai are unstable at the Earth's surface and susceptible to rapid weathering, the minerals are anhydrous and when they come into contact with the moisture of the atmosphere, they begin to react extremely quickly.
The black or dark brown lava and ash erupted begins to turn white within a few hours. The resulting volcanic landscape is different from any other in the world.
In popular culture
As this kind of lava is unique, one would expect it to appear in many documentaries and television geology series. However, this is mostly not true.
- Etnatao: Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano Tanzania
- Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano HDTV (from a French TV documentary)
- World's Coolest Lava is in Africa, 2003, USGS, Hawaii Volcano Observatory
- OL DOINYO LENGAI - THE MOUNTAIN OF GOD
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