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Lengai Current News (redirected from Lengai Current Year News)

Page history last edited by Frederick Belton 10 years ago


Lengai Current News.  For prior years see the Lengai News Archive.  This page covers news for 2013-2014.                                                                             



I will post news about Lengai here whenever it becomes available. The most recent news is at the bottom of the page. If you have climbed Lengai or made photos from the air please send me your observations and I will include them here. Your contributions will be much appreciated by those who track the activity and changes in the crater.


The news items below are supplemental to and in some cases a duplication of information published in the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Network Reports.


Photos on these pages are property of the individuals named and should not be used without permission.  Without the generosity of these contributors we would not know what is happening at Lengai.



April 2013: Bonnie Betts of the USA climbed on April 10 and reported: "We started at midnight in a thunderstorm with light rain, but it cleared up. You could hear the lava sloshing around inside the crater before getting to the top; also dark smoke could be seen coming from the crater while ascending in the night.  I wanted to get up there in the dark to see it glowing red, but I was not allowed to.  Looking into the crater, you can see the lava sloshing back and forth in the dark, black tunnel, then some would flow out with a different flowing swishing sound."


Bonnie also described a "crack" running below the crater that goes all the way around the mountain, and she implied that local guides are afraid that it may be the beginning of a collapse of the inner wall of the pit crater.


Shown below are two photos from Bonnie's climb.


A tall spatter cone has formed near against the crater wall, appearing to be located on the western side of the pit. The flank of the cone

has ruptured and an active lava flow is exiting the cone at that location. Photo courtesy Bonnie Betts.



In this view a steaming fissure of undetermined depth is seen near the crater rim. Below are the Pearly Gates. Photo courtesy Bonnie Betts.



June 2013: Some photos and a description by Gian Schachenmann who visited Lengai June 17-18 was forwarded to me by Michael Dalton-Smith of Digital Crossing Productions. Gian mentioned sloshing lava sounds from the spatter cone and noted "big" cracks on the rim near the top, with "lots" of gasses coming out. 



This photo made on June 17 or 18 shows that the tall spatter cone no longer has the flank vent that was present on April 10 (See photo by B. Betts

above). It also appears that there has been only slight growth of the cone during the two months between the photographs. Photo courtesy Gian




March 2014: A Lengai climb made on March 12 has been documented on the Lake Natron Camp facebook pageA couple of photos made by Ake Lindstrom are seen below.  An active cone appears to have formed inside the wall of the crater. A sort of "shelter cave" with an overhanging roof has formed just above the main vent of the active cone.  This unusual feature might have formed through the action of thermal erosion by a lava fountain issuing from the top of the cone. The thin semicircular overhang could have been formed by intermittent lava fountains and spatter that hardened and gradually extended away from the crater wall in subsequent eruptions. This appears to be the same cone that is also seen in the photos of Bonnie Betts and Gian Schachenmann.


The second photo by Ake Lindstrom shows a large crack in the crater rim above the climbing route, illustrating the instability of Lengai's crater. There is really no way to know the significance or risks

associated with such a crack, but climbers and the people in Engare Sero village should be aware that landslides are always a possibility at Lengai.





Photo courtesy Ake Lindstrom.


Photo courtesy Ake Lindstrom.


May 2014: Some interesting photos from the 2007-2008 explosive eruption, made by Tim Leach, were sent to me by Michael Dalton-Smith and appear below.  These were taken very early in the eruption, possibly just a day or two after the ash phase of the eruption began. A probable time frame for the two photos is the first week of September 2007. This confirms that the ash phase began at the collapse pit designated CP1.  The first photo clearly show the extensive lava flows that had spread across the crater from CP1 prior to the start of the ash phase.  CP1 was located in a part of the crater that had been the site of numerous cones and lava lakes. It probably began life as a lava lake whose rim was undermined by thermal erosion and finally collapsed to form CP1.  Its reasonable to speculate that CP1 continued to function as an intermittent lava lake, filling periodically and flowing out across the crater floor. The prominent thick flow covering the SW half of the crater floor, seen in the first photo, may have been one of the last lava eruptions from CP1 prior to the ash phase.


Photo courtesy Tim Leach.


Photo courtesy Tim Leach.




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