Document Type



Biology (CMC), WM Keck Science (CMC), Biology (Pitzer), WM Keck Science (Pitzer), Biology (Scripps), WM Keck Science (Scripps), WM Keck Science

Publication Date



A new type of lava cave is described from the summit crater of Ol Doinyo Lengai, a unique active carbonatite volcano in Tanzania. This and other similar caves on Ol Doinyo Lengai are formed by thermal erosion and aqueous dissolution of otherwise solid spatter cones. Meteoritic water and endogenous condensates act to form speleothems of complex mineralogy up to 3 m in length. We propose the new classification of “polygenetic spatter cone cave”.


Used with permission of the National Speleological Society (

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.