Mt Oldonyo Lengai rises from The Great Rift Valley floor to a height of 2890m,and is the only active volcano on planet that erupts carbonatite lava
Whereas most lavas are rich in silicate minerals, the lava of Ol Doinyo Lengai is a carbonatite. It is rich in the rare sodium and potassium carbonates, nyerereite and gregoryite. Due to this unusual composition, the lava erupts at relatively low temperatures of approximately 510 °C (950 °F). 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, often less viscous than water. 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, quickly turning from black to grey in colour. The resulting volcanic landscape is different from any other in the world.