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Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — 18 October-24 October 2023

Erta Ale

Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 October-24 October 2023
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2023. Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 18 October-24 October 2023. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (18 October-24 October 2023)

Erta Ale


13.601°N, 40.666°E; summit elev. 585 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

An eruption at Erta Ale continued during 5-20 October based on satellite data. Four thermal anomalies were located in the N and S pit craters, aligned in a NW-SE direction, based on a 5 October image. The northernmost anomaly in the N pit crater, was relatively weak. The other three, one located at the SE rim of the N pit crater and two in the S pit crater, were brighter and likely represented spatter cones. These three anomalies were more intense in a 10 October image. An image on 15 October showed lava flows likely coming from the two cones in the S pit crater traveling SE, SSE, NE, and SW. Minor, linear anomalies to the N of the cone on the SE rim of the N pit crater likely represented lava flows. The flows had cooled by 20 October.

Geological Summary. The Erta Ale basaltic shield volcano in Ethiopia has a 50-km-wide edifice that rises more than 600 m from below sea level in the Danakil depression. The volcano includes a 0.7 x 1.6 km summit crater hosting 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. Basaltic lava flows from these fissures have poured into the caldera and locally overflowed its rim. The summit caldera usually also holds at least one long-term lava lake that has been active since at least 1967, and possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have occurred on the N flank.

Source: Sentinel Hub