Volcano-Tectonics in Tanzania, exploring the World’s Strangest Volcano

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The University of Glasgow Tanzania Expedition took place in June 2015 and consisted of a team of 13 Glasgow students who worked alongside a group of students from the University of Dodoma to study the unique Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano.

Translating to “Mountain of God” in the local Maasai language, Ol Doinyo Lengai has been dubbed the “strangest volcano on Earth” by National Geographic due to the unique composition of its magma and the importance of it geological setting. Located in the Arusha region of Tanzania, Ol Doinyo Lengai is part of the East African Rift System; an active continental rift zone which stretches 1000’s of kilometres from the Gulf of Aden to Mozambique. It began developing around 25 million years ago at the onset of the Miocene and since then the smaller Somalian Plate has been pulling away from the Nubian (African) Plate at a rate of roughly 6-7mm per year, providing a modern analogue to help us understand  how  continents break  apart.  Ol Doinyo Lengai  (3188m)  sits  on the  eastern branch of the rift known as the Gregory Rift. It is the only active carbonatite volcano in the world and has the coolest lava, erupting at 500-600degreesC, resulting in extensive interest from the geological community.

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