Active volcanoes / Aktive vulkaner:

Erta Ale, Ethiopia



The summit of Erta Ale volcano contains a dramatic 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical caldera housing steep-sided pit craters.
Steam rises from the North pit at the left, and a lava lake was active
in the center pit crater at the time of this February 2002 view from the south.

Photo by Jürg Alean, 2002 (Kantonsschule Zürcher Unterland, Bülach, Switzerland).



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.


A 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.


From time to time lava flows above the edge of the crater.

November 30th, 2010
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.



Erta Ale is an active shield volcano located in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia,
within the Danakil Desert. It is the most active volcano in Ethiopia
.
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