Field trips to Rift Valley (Kenya)

We conducted the first trip to the alkaline lakes of the Rift Valley in Kenya from 8 to 23 of March 2016. The first day upon arrival we had scheduled several meetings with the authorities of Kenyan Wildlife Services and National Museums of Kenya to have permissions to do the exploration. During this trip of ten days we started exploring all the springs feeding the lake Magadi and Little Magadi. We collected samples of water, rocks and precipitates. Then we travel North exploiting several lakes ending in lake Bogoria and collecting samples of waters, precipitate and rocks from all them. We also had several meetings with authorities and with scientists from Tata Chemicals company in order to get permission next year to explores the pools of this company to search for phenomena of mineral self-assembly. Finally, we ended the trip with one public lecture in the National Musem of Kenya and one lecture on teaching crystallization for High School teachers and students of Limuru, which was followed by local authorities and one member of the Parliament.

We returned to the Rift Valley in Kenya this time focusing on the Lake Magadi area and Lake Natron (17th – 28th March 2018). We made a geological cartography of the area using field trip data and analysis of aerial pictures. We performed a new sample collection of waters from the different springs feeding the lakes and we have also collected new samples of the rocks, mostly cherts. The rocks were analysed by different techniques in our lab. We also had several meetings with company Tata Chemicals who has been mining trona in the lake for more than a century. We made a collaboration agreement with the geological department of the mine to exchange data and to create a crystallization kit for children. The PI also delivered lectures on “The wonderful world of crystals” to a High School in Nairobi and a secondary school in Magadi.

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