Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 70, Issue 9, pp 1069–1086 | Cite as

Voluminous lava flows at Oldoinyo Lengai in 2006: chronology of events and insights into the shallow magmatic system

  • Matthieu Kervyn
  • Gerald G. J. Ernst
  • Jurgis Klaudius
  • Jörg Keller
  • François Kervyn
  • Hannes B. Mattsson
  • Frederic Belton
  • Evelyne Mbede
  • Patric Jacobs
Research Article


The largest natrocarbonatite lava flow eruption ever documented at Oldoinyo Lengai, NW Tanzania, occurred from March 25 to April 5, 2006, in two main phases. It was associated with hornito collapse, rapid extrusion of lava covering a third of the crater and emplacement of a 3-km long compound rubbly pahoehoe to blocky aa-like flow on the W flank. The eruption was followed by rapid enlargement of a pit crater. The erupted natrocarbonatite lava has high silica content (3% SiO2). The eruption chronology is reconstructed from eyewitness and news media reports and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite data, which provide the most reliable evidence to constrain the eruption’s onset and variations in activity. The eruption products were mapped in the field and the total erupted lava volume estimated at 9.2 ± 3.0 × 105 m3. The event chronology and field evidence are consistent with vent construct instability causing magma mixing and rapid extrusion from shallow reservoirs. It provides new insights into and highlights the evolution of the shallow magmatic system at this unique natrocarbonatite volcano.


Oldoinyo Lengai Hornito collapse Lava flow Collapse pit MODLEN 



We thank all who contributed with observations, photographs or field assistance, including Dean Polley, Matt Jones, UDSM staff members, David Peterson, Celia Nyamweru, Daniela Szczepanski, Bernard Duycks, Thierry Sluys, Bernard Masson (LAVE Belgique), Chris Weber, Rohit Nandedkar and the TGS. We acknowledge field assistance by Majura Songho. MK and GGJE are supported by the Belgian NSF (FWO–Vlaanderen). MK thanks the “Fondation Belge de la Vocation” for funding his field expedition with FK. JK and JK are supported by DFG project Ke 136/40. HBM thanks The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and The Swedish Research Council for funding joint fieldwork with Jaana Hode Vuorinen at OL. Reviews by Dave Pyle and Harry Pinkerton helped improve the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthieu Kervyn
    • 1
  • Gerald G. J. Ernst
    • 1
  • Jurgis Klaudius
    • 2
  • Jörg Keller
    • 2
  • François Kervyn
    • 3
  • Hannes B. Mattsson
    • 4
    • 5
  • Frederic Belton
    • 6
  • Evelyne Mbede
    • 7
  • Patric Jacobs
    • 1
  1. 1.Mercator and Ortelius Research Centre for Eruption Dynamics, Department of Geology and Soil SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.MGI Mineralogisch-Geochemisches InstitutAlbert Ludwigs-University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Royal Museum for Central Africa, Department of Geology–Section of Cartography and Photo-InterpretationTervurenBelgium
  4. 4.Institute for Mineralogy and PetrologySwiss Federal Institute of TechnologyZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Nordic Volcanological CenterUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  6. 6.Middle Tennessee State UniversityMurfreesboroUSA
  7. 7.Department of GeologyUniversity of Dar es Salaam (UDSM)Dar Es SalaamTanzania

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