L.Magadi is 120km S.W of Nairobi on the floor of the Great Rift Valley.
Trona deposits occur as a solution of sodium salts the main ones being sodium
sequicarbonate and sodium chloride.
Mode of Formation
- Rain water dissolves soda salts in volcanic rocks.
- The solution percolates through the rocks and soil and gets beneath the
- The accumulated solution is heated by the hot rocks beneath.
- Pressure builds up and the heated solution is pushed to the surface.
- It comes out of the ground inform of hot springs below or on the sides of the lake.
- Due to high temperature water evaporates leaving behind crystals of trona.
Extraction and Processing
- A dredger scoops trona out of the lake.
- It crushes it into smaller pieces and separates it from rock debris.
- The material is mixed with water to form slurry and transported to factory on the lake’s shore.
- In the factory the slurry is mixed with water to wash out impurities such as mud and salt and dried.
- It is sent to desiccators and heated to remove moisture and hydrogen to form soda ash.
- Soda ash is cooled and ground into powder and sieved.
- It’s packed into paper bags, weighed and transported to the market.
Uses of Soda ash
Used in the:
- Glass industry in the manufacture of glasses and bottles.
- Manufacture of soaps and detergents.
- Softening water in paper making.
- In textile industry.
- In oil refining.