The World's Most Valuable Volcanoes; Rare Earth Element Enriched Lava


In a remote section of Tanzania is the world's strangest volcano. Here, low temperature lava erupts as a black color, but soon cools to a bright white rock. This lava has a viscosity lower than water and is enriched in rare earth elements. Known as carbonatite, this unique lava has implications for mining operations around the globe which are searching for ancient deposits of it. So, why does this rare earth element enriched lava erupt?

Courtesy of: 

Graphics of eruption dates are courtesy of the Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institute.

Google Earth imagery used in this video: ©Google

0:00 1300 Active Volcanoes
0:20 The Most Valuable Volcano
1:00 Carbonatite Lava
2:01 How Carbonatite Forms
3:03 Rare Earth Elements
3:28 Is Mining Feasible?

Thumbnail Photo Credit: William Calvin,, CC BY SA 4.0-I

Mining Rare Earth
Be the first to comment