Central Island Volcano | John Seach


(Crocodile Island)
Lake Turkana, Kenya

3.50 N, 36.04 E
summit elevation 550 m

Central Island is located in Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.
The island has a surface area of 9 sq km, with 15 craters and cones, three which are occupied by lakes. The summit of the island is 550 m above sea level, and 170 m above the level of Lake Turkana. One group of craters appears to be more recent with ropy lava and scoriae showing little weathering. Central Island lies west of the main Kenyan Rift valley.

Central Island photos by John Seach

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Central Island Volcano, Lake Turkana, Kenya 2009 - John Seach

central island
Crocodile Lake, Central Island, Lake Turkana, Kenya - John Seach

central island turkana
Tilapia Lake, Central Island, Lake Turkana - John Seach

central island turkana
Flamingo lake, central island volcano, Lake Turnana - John Seach

Crossing Lake Turkana, Kenya

lake turkana, Kenya
Crocodile lake, Central Island volcano, Kenya

central island, kenya
Tilapia lake, central island volcano, Kenya

central island volcano, kenya
Central Island volcano, Lake Turkana, Kenya

lake turkana, kenya
Central Island, Kenya

Central Island is approximately circular in shape and has a surface area of 9 sq km. This island reaches an altitude of 550 m above sea level (170 m above lake level).

Central Island was visited by expeditions in 1930 by Dr. Worthington, and in 1934 by Dyson and Millard, who stayed eight days in order to make complete botanical and zoological collections, with the object of finding to what extent the lake acts as a natural barrier to the migration of the fauna and flora of the adjacent areas.

Three small islands 2 km SE of Central Island are called Bird Nest Island, Bug Island, and Broken Island. Each has a surface area less than 1 km and all are
considered to be part of the Central Island volcanic centre.

All beaches on the island are less than 12 m above lake level which indicates the island structure is recent, due to the fact that water levels have been falling in the lake from a maximum 76 m above the present level. Central Island is vegetated by spiny grass and thorn bush.

Fumarolic activity is present on the rim of the central crater with sulphur covering the walls.

Flamingo Lake
The lake sits in a crater on the north of the island. It measures 500 m x 400 m in diameter.

Crocodile Lake
The irregular shaped lake lies on the west of the island. It is roughly hour-glass shaped, and measures 800 m x 400 m.

Tilapia Lake
This small island measuring 300 m x 250 m is located in the south of the island.

2012 Earthquake
A magnitude 5.2 earthquake hit 13 km north of Central Island volcano on 23rd January 2012. The earthquake focus was at depth of 15 km.

1975 Eruption
A phreatic eruption on Central Island was witnessed in 1975 by a member of the scientific party at the Koobi Fora hominid site on the east side of Lake Turkana.

Further reading
Karson, J.A. and Curtis, P.C., 1994. Quaternary volcanic centres of the Turkana Rift, Kenya. Journal of African Earth Sciences18(1), pp.15-35.

Bloomer, S.H., Curtis, P.C. and Karson, J.A., 1989. Geochemical variation of Quaternary basaltic volcanics in the Turkana Rift, northern Kenya. Journal of African Earth Sciences (and the Middle East)8(2-4), pp.511-532.

Central Island Volcano Eruptions

1975, ~1000 AD