Karibu (Welcome) to Lake Magadi!

Lake Magadi is a sodium carbonate alkaline lake in Southern Kenya near the Tanzania Border (not to be confused with the other Lake Magadi in Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania) and is about an hour and a half drive from Nairobi. It is mainly fed by hot springs around the edges of the lake with relatively minor additions from the monsoonal rains. It should be mentioned that the main part of Magadi is only covered by water for a small part of the year. This relatively thin layer of water accumulates during the wet season, and evaporates exposing a vast pan of trona, hydrated sodium bicarbonate carbonate (Na3(HCO3)(CO3)·2(H2O). This trona is ‘mined’ and purified by the Magadi Soda Company and the resulting soda ash or simply sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), is sold for a variety of uses including glass manufacturing, fabric dyeing and paper production.

So, anyway, why is this ‘The Magadi Project’?

I was working on a Master’s thesis regarding the Lake Magadi area, and while I was out there the first time in 2005, I thought to myself; I could use a field guide. It’s one thing to read about something, say, the hotsprings, or the old lake level terraces, or the different geologic units, and quite another to identify them in the field. So here are some photos, maps, coordinates etc., to areas of interest (at least for a geologist) around this interesting lake.

So, explore, and enjoy- and if you go out there sometime and stumble across an interesting location, take a picture, get some coordinates and let me know =)

The Magadi Project
A field guide to the Lake Magadi Area

copyright Alexandria L. Guth