A Guy Once Fell Into A Volcano And Survived
Ol Doinyo Lengai, which means Mountain of God in the local language, is one cool volcano. It has a reputation among volcanologists – and that is a real job – for being the weirdest volcano in the world. The reason? Someone fell into the volcano… and survived.
In 2007, a Maasai porter decked it into an active lava flow in the crater while giving someone a tour. Amazingly, the porter managed to climb out.
That’s right, he didn’t even need to be rescued. He pulled himself out of the crater. He did have some injuries, though. One of his arms and both his legs were severely burned, and he was hospitalized for some time.
Here you can see what happened when volcano researcher Richard Roscoe did a test to see how lava would react to a person being thrown into a volcanic crater.
He threw a 65 pound bag 260ft into a lava lake and the volcano swallowed the bag whole – you can see the orange lava underneath the surface.
And it was only in November, when a 23-year-old man dissolved after accidentally slipping into a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Absolutely terrifying!
The reason that the man survived falling into a volcano is because Ol Doinyo Lengai’s lava is cold – well, for a volcano. It’s not normal lava – it’s natrocarbonatite lava. It’s rich in rare sodium and potassium carbonate minerals, nyerereite and gregoryite. This unique combination means that the lava cools really quickly when it comes into contact with air, so much so that it actually turns from black to white!
The lava isn’t even hot enough to be orange when it’s hot – it’s a very creepy black color. At 510 degrees, it’s almost half the temperature of the average volcano.
When it’s hot, the lava isn’t as thick as red lava. Instead it looks like petrol and travels a lot faster than normal lava which motors along at approximately six miles an hour. Ol Doinyo Lengai’s lava runs at about the same pace as a human. So while it’s not as hot, it wouldn’t be as easy to outrun. It’s a good thing that the weird volcano is over 370,000 years old and is fairly tame for a volcano – it last erupted in 2006.