May 11, 2009
Scientists find source of carbon lava
U.S. and French scientists say they have discovered the origin of carbon-based lavas erupting from a Tanzanian volcano.
The researchers, led by the University of New Mexico, analyzed gas samples collected from inside the active crater of Tanzania's Oldoinyo Lengai volcano -- the only volcano that is actively producing carbon-based lavas. The geochemical analyses revealed a very small degree of partial melting of minerals in the Earth's upper mantle is the source of the rare carbon-derived lava.
The research by the scientists from the University of New Mexico, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego and the Research Center for Petrographics and Geochemicals in Nancy, France, appears in the journal Nature.