The rig itself was absolutely solid. The main rope had been trailed around the crater rim, catching on various boulders but eventually anchored-in on day one. It helps when the weight of the rope isn’t trying to drag you into the crater. So, by comparison, installation of the finer accessory lines was remarkably effortless. With all that in place, we were left to play with our multiple Triple Attachment Pulley set-up to our hearts’ content. The set-up we used is fairly obvious from the photos—involving lowering gas sensors and sample buckets from the fixed line into the crater.
Ultimately, mechanical advantage won out. As expected, our radio comms and electronics failed us at times, but our ropes, pulleys and forearm strength held true. It wasn’t the place for equipment failure. In the end we managed to collect the first lava samples and gas measurements from the crater floor of Ol Doinyo Lengai since the last explosive eruption in September 2007. Scientifically, that was an achievement. Logistically, it was an epic adventure.
Kate Laxton–London NERC DTP Student–funded by the Deep Carbon Observatory with the support of the University of Dar Es Salaam and the Geological Survey of Tanzania.
With: Emma Liu, Arno Van Zyl (Vertica Ltd), Papakinye Lemolo, Amedeus Mtui, Ignas Mtui, Boni Kicha, Boni Mawe and Baraka.