Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — 24 November-30 November 2010
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 November-30 November 2010
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2010. Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 24 November-30 November 2010. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
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.
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.
Source: Afar Rift Consortium