Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield volcano that is the most active
volcano in Ethiopia. The broad, 50-km-wide
volcano rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil
depression. Erta Ale is the namesake
and most prominent feature of the Erta Ale Range.
The 613-m-high volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical summit crater
housing steep-sided pit craters.
Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression elongated parallel to the
trend of the Erta Ale range is located to the SE
of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side.
permanent lava lake has been present at the isolated Erta Ale volcano
in Ethiopia since at least 1967,
and possibly since 1906. This November 1992 photo shows a lava lake
in a 100-m deep crater in
the southern part of the large summit crater.
Photo by Luigi Cantamessa, 1992 (courtesy
of Pierre Vetsch).
Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows from these fissures have poured into
the caldera and locally overflowed its rim.
The summit caldera is renowned for one, or sometimes two long-term lava
lakes that have been active since
at least 1967, or possibly since 1906.
time to time lava flows above the edge of the crater.
Scientists from the Afar Consortium Project observed the lava lake at
Erta Ale during 21-23 November.
They noted Strombolian activity from the lava lake in the southern pit
crater. The lava lake had filled the pit crater and breached the W rim,
spilling two lava flows into the main crater. The lava lake was encompassed
by a scoria ring that
was about 4 m high on the S side. By 23 November, the lake was above
the scientist's eye level when they stood W
of the southern pit in the main crater.
Ale is an active shield volcano located in the Afar Region of northeastern
within the Danakil Desert. It is the most active volcano in Ethiopia.
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