of Ol Doinyo Lengai
Ol Doinyo Lengai is located along
the Great Rift Valley of Africa, at the coordinates 2.75
degrees South and 35.9 degrees East. In a remote
area of Tanzania, Ol Doinyo Lengai is approximately 120
km from Arusha, Tanzania and about 193 km from Nairobi,
Kenya. The volcano is dramatically remote, with no
major highways within 60 kilometers of the summit.
Consequently, research and information is relatively
scare, as only locals and and the occasional adventurous
volcanologists are close enough to observe the volcano.
photos courtesy of
The tectonic setting of Ol Doinyo
Lengai is very unique. Ol Doinyo Lengai is the
only active volcano in the Great Rift Valley. The
Great Rift Valley has experienced constant volcanic
activity since the Miocene times, producing vastly
different volcanic rocks.
The tectonic setting of Ol
Doinyo Lengai is very unique. Ol Doinyo Lengai is the
only active volcano in the Great Rift Valley. The Great
Rift Valley has experienced constant volcanic activity
since the Miocene times, producing vastly different
The movement of tectonic plates has begun to actively
split the African plate, forming a rift valley in East
The cracks and fissures of this rift allow magma to
extrude upwards, causing volcanic activity and forming
volcanoes such as Ol Doinyo Lengai. What results is a
massive rift valley with deep valleys, sheer
escarpments, and chains of large, deep lakes.
The Great Rift Valley will most likely ultimately become
A diagram explaining the
continental rifting and eventual tectonic setting of
photo courtesy of
G. R. Chapman, D. A. Robson and R. B. McConnell
“Volcanism of the Kenya Rift Valley.” Royal
Society of London. Series A, Mathematical and
Physical Sciences, Vol. 271, No. 1213.(Jan. 27,
1972), pp. 185-208.