Ol Doinyo Lengai

Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003

On August 2003, Marco Fulle has come back to the Lengai's summit crater to spend there another week, together with Fred Belton, Martin Rietze, Stephane Granier and Tom Pfeiffer. The volcanic activity was completely different with respect to 2001: no lava flows, active lava lakes, nor huge paroxysms. The volcano was erupting huge lava fountains, up to fifty meters high and dull red in the night, covering of tiny ash all the crater: the black ash, interacting with the fog, turned into a phantastic white, thus transforming the landscape into dreaming equatorial snow fields. This page summarizes the activity observed during the first week of August 2003, covering another face of the unique Lengai's activity. All times are local (GMT + 3hr).

Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
1. Aug., 16h. f=16mm (fish-eye lens). From left to right: T57B, black and fountaining T56B and extinct T40 below the afternoon Sun.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
1. Aug., 16h. f=16mm (fish-eye lens). Black erupting T56B (left) and extinct T49 (right), the source of paroxysm of summer 2001. Intact «snow fields» in the foreground.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
2. Aug., 21h. f=16mm (fish-eye lens) from T57B top. Faint red lava fountains from the top of T56B. In the sky, Corvus (left), Moon (center) and Big Dipper (right).
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
2. Aug., 22h. f=50mm from T57B top. The moon is setting behind the left flank of T56B in eruption. Tiny red liquid lava streams on its right steep flank.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
3. Aug., 11h. f=135mm. The previous night T56B has collapsed, starting big fountains. Tom risks to be hit by falling bombs from huge fountains.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
3. Aug., 21h. f=28mm. Fountains from T56B continue red in the night, photographed by Tom. Behind extinct T49, the Southern Cross, Alfa and Beta Centauris.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
4. Aug., 11h. f=16mm (fish-eye lens) from T57B top. Continuous fountains from T56B. On its left, in the morning fog, white and inactive T58B.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
4. Aug., 12h and 17h. f=135mm. T58B too becomes active, with strombolian jets before (left), and with a huge collapse triggering strong fountains later (right).
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
4. Aug., 19h. f=135mm from T57B top. The fountains from T58B cover its flank of red liquid lava streams in a moonlit night.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
4. Aug., 20h. f=16mm (fish-eye lens). Red fountains in a moon night from T58B, active between sharp T47 and black T56B. Centaurus and Southern Cross in the left sky.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
4. Aug., 21h. f=16mm (fish-eye lens) from T57B top. Suddenly, T56B too becomes active, bombing our position with liquid lava clots. The Moon at top center.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
4. Aug., 22h. f=28mm from T49 west flank (left). Red fountains from T56B increase in strength, flowing liquid down the hornito flanks. The brightest Mars in the sky (right).
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
5. Aug., 11h. f=16mm (fish-eye lens) from T57B top. Continuous fountains from T56b have built up a steep unstable cone on T56B top, ready for the next collapse.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
5. Aug., 11h. f=135mm from T57B top. Zoom on the lava fountains erupted by T56B: the liquid clots glue around the vent in the steepest chimney.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
5. Aug., 19h. f=50mm from T57B south flank (right). A few minutes before, T56B has collapsed, starting a cycle of paroxysmal fountains. The Big Dipper on the right.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
5. Aug., 19h. f=135mm (left) and 50mm (right). Liquid lava from huge fountains. When Tom starts his shots, half of the summit cone has further collapsed.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
5. Aug., 23h. f=16mm (fish-eye lens). Dream Moon Night: Stephane, below T57B (left) photographs the red fountains from T56B (center). Steam from T40 (right) is whitened by the Moon, hunted by Scorpius on the left.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
7. Aug., 10h. f=135mm from T57B top. During the previous dawn, the eastern flank of T58B has collapsed again, triggering huge fountaining.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
7. Aug., 10h. f=135mm from T57B top. Liquid magma bubble burst in a boiling new vent opened on the eastern flank of T58B.
Lava Fountains and Ash Eruptions. August 2003
7. Aug., 10h. f=135mm from T57B top. Liquid fingers of molten natrocarbonatitic lava are poured out by the fiery vent. After half an hour, all the activity will end on Lengai until our descent from the top.