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Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — August 1992

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 17, no. 8 (August 1992)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Small lava fountains observed during overflight

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1992. Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia). In: McClelland, L (ed.), Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 17:8. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199208-221080.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


A lava fountain estimated at 1-2 m high was observed in one vent during a 45-minute overflight on 21 September by the Geophysical Observatory's director, a volcanologist, and a geologist. Gas emission was seen at a second vent.

Geologic Background. Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield that is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. The broad, 50-km-wide edifice 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 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 SE of the summit and is bounded by curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. 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. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the N flank.

Information Contacts: L. Asfaw, Addis Abeba Univ, Ethiopia.