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Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — December 1987


Erta Ale

Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, vol. 12, no. 12 (December 1987)
Managing Editor: Lindsay McClelland.

Erta Ale (Ethiopia) S lava lake remains larger and hotter than N lake

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1987. Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) (McClelland, L., ed.). Scientific Event Alert Network Bulletin, 12:12. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.SEAN198712-221080



Erta Ale

Ethiopia

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

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Landsat TM (band 7) data acquired 9 February 1987 suggest that . . . the lava lakes remained similar to . . . January 1986. The S lake was larger and hotter than its N companion, but temperature could not be constrained since the 1987 observation was based only on photographic format data.

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.

Information Contacts: D. Rothery, Open Univ.