Menengai Volcano | John Seach


Menengai Crater, Kenya

0.20 S, 36.07 E
summit elevation 2278 m
Shield volcano

Menengai volcano is located on the floor of the Rift Valley, 24 km south of the equator, immediately north of Nakuru. It is one of five recent volcanoes in the central Kenya Rift valley. The volcano was formed about 200,000 years ago with the growth of a 30 cubic km volume lava shield.

The 12 x 8 km caldera formed 8000 years ago. More than 70 post caldera lava flows cover the caldera floor. Cinder cones are rare at the volcano.

Menengai is considered one of the best-preserved Krakatau-style calderas in the world.

Menengai volcano photos by John Seach

menengai caldera kenya
Inside Menengai caldera, Kenya 2008

menengai crater kenya
Menengai Caldera

memengai volcano, kenya
Hiking into Menengai crater, Kenya 2008

menengai caldera kenya
Inside Menengai crater, Kenya 2008

menengai crater kenya
Caldera wall at Menengai, Kenya

menengai crater
Menengai crater, Kenya

menengai volcano, kenya
Hiking in Menengai caldera, Kenya 2008

Menengai caldera wall

menengai vegetation
Menengai vegetation

equator kenya
Crossing equator 17 km north of Menengai volcano

equator kenya
On the equator!

The south and western portions of the crater are complete. In the centre of the caldera there is a small cone rising above surrounding lava, which shows fumarolic activity. There have been four fumaroles measured with temperatures up to 94 deg C.

The pre-caldera volcanics have almost continuous exposure in the caldera wall from Lion's Head westwards to the west cliff. The maximum height of the present caldera wall is 300 m at Lion’s Head Cliff. About seventy lava flows cover the caldera floor.

Two post caldera maars are located south of Menengai and NW of Lake Nakuru. Magma was probably injected from beneath Menengai along a N-S trending fissure to produce the eruption.

Further reading
Leat, P.T., MacDonald, R. and Smith, R.L., 1984. Geochemical evolution of the Menengai caldera volcano, Kenya. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth89(B10), pp.8571-8592.

Leat, P.T., 1984. Geological evolution of the trachytic caldera volcano Menengai, Kenya Rift Valley. Journal of the Geological Society141(6), pp.1057-1069.

Menengai Volcano Eruptions

7350 BC