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Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — January 1993

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 1 (January 1993)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) Additions to previous report

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) (McClelland, L., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:1. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199301-221080.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin

Erta Ale


13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

The November expedition . . . was organized by Haroun Tazieff in connection with a film about his volcanological work, produced by Gaumont Television. Climbers who descended into the active crater were Luigi Cantamessa (Géo-découverte), Gilbert Pareau (Association of Alpine Guides of Chamonix) Marc Vigny (SVG), Pierre Villemin (cameraman), Alain Curvelier (sound engineer), and Andre Schussele (medical doctor).

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: P. Vetsch, SVG, Switzerland; L. Cantamessa, Géo-découverte, Switzerland.