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.
The summit of Erta Ale volcano contains a dramatic 0.7 x 1.6 km, elliptical caldera housing steep-sided pit craters. Steam rises from the North pit at the left, and a lava lake was active in the center pit crater at the time of this February 2002 view from the south. Erta Ale is an isolated basaltic shield volcano that is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. Fresh-looking basaltic lava flows fill much of the caldera and have overflowed its rim on the southern side. One, or sometimes two, long-term lava lakes have been active since at least 1967.
Photo by Jürg Alean, 2002 (Kantonsschule Zürcher Unterland, Bülach, Switzerland).
Last updated 2019-12-17 09:30:03