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Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia) — 25 November-1 December 2020


Erta Ale

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
25 November-1 December 2020
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2020. Report on Erta Ale (Ethiopia). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 25 November-1 December 2020. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Weekly Report (25 November-1 December 2020)

Erta Ale

Ethiopia

13.6°N, 40.67°E; summit elev. 613 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


Satellite data periodically showed possible thermal anomalies in Erta Ale’s N pit crater during 5 September-10 October; the crater was sometimes obscured by fumes through 29 November. A weak thermal anomaly may have been present in the S pit crater during 5 September-24 November, but was notably larger on 29 November.

Geological Summary. 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: Sentinel Hub