VHDL - HOME members imprint contact
Etna/ITALY Merapi/INDONESIA Pacaya/GUATEMALA Eyjafjoll/ICELAND Fuego/GUATEMALA german site

HOT SPOT DANAKIL

Recent eruptions and hazards!



Erta Ale, Danakil


Erta Ale lava lake 2010

High level of activity continues inside both pit craters of Erta Ale.

Travelling at Erta Ale after FEBRUARY 2012 incident now safer than ever.
Danakil

A new road from Makale into the Danakil until the village and military base at Amadela is under construction. When this road will be finished (about 2014), then a smooth ride into the Danakil will come true.


EA Report on Erta Ale 12/2014: south pit very active, only 8 meters level below the rim; north crater quite.

Report on Erta Ale 01/2014, observation by a VEI team from 17th until 19th January 2014:

The active south crater had it's lava level only 5 meters below the craters edge. Oscillating took place with gas outburst at the lava lake center and along the lake surface walls. An overflow of the lava lake seems only a matter of time if uprise continues with this speed. The sice of the lava lake had not changed since 2012.
The north crater showed no eruption during the visit, but had recent spattering and flows only short before. Degassing took place. A significant grow of the hornito inside the north carater and many lava flow covers were noticed to our last visit one year ago.
EA EA EA

Report on Erta Ale 12/2012 , observation by a VEI team from 15th until 17th December 2012:

Erta Ale
Ethiopia, East Africa
2.751N, 40.67E; summit elev. 613 m
Al times are local (=GMT + 1 hours)

A Volcano Expedition International team visited Erta Ale and Dallol midd of December 2012. After the January 2012 incident with an attac on tourists at the caldera rim of Erta Ale, leaving some tourists killed at Erta Ale, a military unit has been based at Erta Ale to protect tourist groups at the volcano. Armed military personal gard tourists from the base camp to the top of Erta Ale. This makes the volcano visit now adays as safe, as it had never been. Also the volcano Dallol is still visited with military company for safty reasons.
The activity of Erta Ale took place at the south and north crater. Since the overflow of the south pit lava lake end of 2010, some collapses of the inner south pit crater happend. The lava lake now measured 65 meters wide form noth to south and 68 meters from East to west. The level of the lava lake oscillated from 7 until 11 meters under the pit rim at approx. 580 meters altitude. The location of the lava lake is about unchainged due to GPS data since 2002. The escaping lava flows from Dec. 2010 reached only a few hundred meters down into the western part of the caldera. The quantiy of those flows is approx. 50,000 quibic meters. The former terrace (T) has been filled up with lava until approx. 580 meters altitude. The old south pit walls to the north, east and south are still existing, reaching to a mmaximum of 590 meters altitude and a diameter of 150 meters north to south.
The activity of the degassing and oscillating lava lake was strong in Dec. 2012. Lava fountains (above the pit rim) and the convection ot the lava lake crust occured from time to time with no stady intervals. Noteable ammounts of Peles hair is found outside the pit, as well as Peles tears and lava spatter.

The north crater (measured 350 m SW - NE) did not change in size since 2009. Only the filling of the craters floor took place with uncountable little lava flows escaping from the central located hornito. The crater floor has risen and the hornito reached to the hight of the crater rim, approx. 590 meters altitude. Lava spatter (strombolian activity)and lava flows occured during observation with changing intensitiy.

EA Map of the active south pit in DEC. 2010 with it's overflow of the lava lake towards the former terrace (T) to the east and tho the west down into the caldera.

In DEC. 2012, the lava lake was very active inside the south pit.
EA

EA The active lava lake of the south pit crater only 10 meters bolow the crater rim. The highest level of the lava lake was noted only 7 meters below the crater rim.

The view from the hornito over the south pit to the degassing north crater, DEC. 2012.
EA

EA Highly activ lava lake and resulting "Peles hair". The oscillating of the lava lake level was more than 3 meters.

Convection and lava fontaining takes place from time to time, DEC. 2012.
EA

NEWS: After JAN 2012 incident with killed tourists at Erta Ale, a military unit has been based at Erta Ale to protect tourist groups at the volcano from the base to the top. This makes the volcano visit as safe, as it has never been. The volcano Dallol is still visited with military company.
INCIDENT: JAN 17th,2012
A travel group has been ataced by rebells at Erta Ale, 5 travellers died from shooting. We are very sorry about this clash and we feel very sorry for our friends and partners in Ethiopia about this circumstances. The political situation in Ethiopia was quite ok through 2012, but trouble in the conflict area of Harerge (towards Somalia) and political clashes in Addis are still hard to predict. There is still an official warning by some countries for travelling to the Dankail (area controlled by the Afar tribe). Check carefully local news and your travel operators before you start! In 2008 and 2009 many groups reached Erta Ale without any problems. But in April 2009, a car with an american volcano visitor hit a mine close to Erta Ale. One man in the car died. This threat has to be taken seriously.
EA Maps showing the DEC. 2010 overflow of the south pit crater and a spattering hornito in the north crater.

In DEC. 2012 the north crater had filled up with lava flows and the south pit hosted an active lava lake.
EA

EA The active north crater with a strombolian spattering central located hornito. Lava flows emerging from the hornito coverd the intire north crater layer by layer, DEC. 2012. EA

EA Lavaspatter from strombolian eruption of the north crater hornito in DEC. 2012. EA
Following more images of Erta Ales north and south pit, plus one image form Dallol, Dec. 2012

EA EA EA
EA EA EA
EA EA EA
EA EA EA

Incident on Erta Ale JAN 17th,2012
A travel group has been ataced by rebells at Erta Ale, 5 travellers died from shooting. We are very sorry about this clash and we feel very sorry for our friends and partners in Ethiopia about this circumstances. The political situation in Ethiopia was quite ok through 2012, but trouble in the conflict area of Harerge (towards Somalia) and political clashes in Addis are still hard to predict. There is still an official warning by some countries for travelling to the Dankail (area controlled by the Afar tribe).



Report on Erta Ale 2/2010 , observation by a VEI team from 8th until 11th February 2010:


Erta Ale
Ethiopia, East Africa
2.751N, 40.67E; summit elev. 613 m
Al times are local (=GMT + 1 hours)

The active south crater (pit) had not changed much. The eliptic crater was measured with about 180 m EW and 140 m NS. The upper platform (terrace T) inside the crater was overflown by a lava flow on 10th of February. Now the lowest point from the lava lake surface to the crater rim was only about 20 meters on the west side. A 65 m wide active lava lake, located in the western half of the pit, did overflow the lower ring terraces around the lake on 9th Feb.
Fountaining at this lava lake took place most of the time during observation, occationally higher than the crater walls. Fresh lava spatters were found at the craters west edge. A Lava sample had been taken out of the lava lake.

The north crater (measured 590 m SW - NE) did not change much since Feb. 2009. Lava spatter (about 10 m high strombolian activity) took place at a central located hornito once every day during observation. Short lava flows occurred from this hornito towards the east and south of this hornito.

See the video from chris Weber on Youtube from Erta Ale (feb. 2010).



EA Map of the active south pit in Nov. 2002 and Feb. 2010. EA

EA The active lava lake on 8th and 10th of Feb. 2010. EA

EA Lavaspatter and resulting "Peles hair" in Feb. 2010. EA

Accident close to Erta Ale with land mine (from 05/2009):


Repeated incidents in the Afar region. In mid-April, William C. Athens, the head of the Afar Exploration Co, an oil company based in Tulsa (USA), decided to suspend the seismic study his firm was carrying out on its block in the north of Ethiopia, until security is re-established in this zone. Previously, several people had been killed or wounded when their vehicles had hit land mines in the Afar Regional State near Eritrea. The first incident took place on 10 April, about 80 km north-west of Lake Afdera in the Danakil depression. An American geologist working for Mobil / Exxon, Douglas Gratwick was injured while touring the Erta Ale volcano with a friend. Two or three Ethiopians (the driver and bodyguards) were killed. Two other vehicles were blown up by mines on13 April, south of Lake Afdera and the Chinese driver of one of them was killed. This second attack, also attributed to Eritrean backed Afar rebels from Ethiopia, targeted Chinese workers who were building the Samara-Afdera road, not far from the volcano Erta Ale (ION 1261). William Athens sent a report on the first incident to Ethiopian Ministry of Mines, calling for a military escort or for the Ethiopian army to secure the road. But none of this has been done.

It has to be remembered, that in March 2007 a tourist group had been kidnapped in the Dankail. A second attemped with kidnapping failed in February 2008. A mine accident with a local truck happended near Dallol as well in Feb. 2009. This monitors, that underground forces can operate quite easyly in the remoted desert of Danakil. This will hopefully change with the implacement of more mititary posts at strategical points.

EA Crater of the mine explosion in Apr. 2009. EA

Report on Erta Ale (from 2/2009):


The active lava lake in the south pit crater continues in 2009. The NW- pit crater has changed a lot in 2008. The local guide Meles Matwose reported that the north crater had a massive collapse in early 2008. Lava flows covering the craters flour occured at that time as well. One of the latest lava flows inside the north pit was observed by Meles Matwose in November 2008, covering parts of the new plateaus inside the crater.

Visit of Erta Ale by Chris Weber and his expedition team from 07 unil 10 Feb 2009.

The active south crater (pit) had expanded due to crater collapses to the west. The eliptic crater meassured 190 m EW and 150 m NS. There was only one platform (plateau) inside the crater about 35 meters on it's lowest point at the west side below the crater rim. The former lava lake edge from 2002 (level number 2) was still visible because of fractures and fumaroles (see figure 1. and 2. with level numbers). In 2009 area number 1. and 2. had the same level, which was a difference of 40 meters in 2002 (GVN vol. 28 April 2003). A 60 m wide active lava lake was located in the western half of the pit. Fountaining at this lava lake took place a few times per day, occasionally higher than the crater walls. Caused by this fountaining, recent lava spatter was found at the craters west edge. The level of the lava lake oscillated with babout 5 meters and came close to overlfow the plateau of level 1. and 2.

The north crater had 3 levels (number 3 to 5) in February 2009. This is quite a change in compare to 2002 were level number 3 was the only one. A massive collapse took place around one year ago. This was reported by the local guide Meles Matwose and had caused the deeper level number 4. New lava flows occured at that time as well on lever number 4. Some recent lava flows from November 2008 covered a part of a new plateau inside the crater (level number 4). Very little lava flows entered the lowest level number 5 of the NW crater. Some hornitos on level number 4 were strong degassing inside the carter and on 09 February, lava spatter (about 15 m high strombolian activity) took place at one hornito from 6 to 10 pm.

erta ale 02 Part of Erta Ale caldera with the north and south pit (crater), based on GPS data (plot by L. Fritsch) from 2002.

erta ale 09 Part of Erta Ale caldera with the north and south pit (crater), based on GPS data (plot) from February 2009. Courtesy of C. Weber.

EA The active lava lake in Nov. 2002 and Feb. 2009. EA

Dalafilla ERUPTION-NEWS!!!

As of November 27th, the fissure eruption between Dalaffilla and Alu continues. A vast area has been covered by lava flows.

Nov. 8th, 2008. Today other sat.-images and reports give evidence, that all this was caused by a massiv volcanic fissure eruption from a location between the volcanoes Alu and Dalaffilla. Finally, the volcanic gas travelled all around the world in easterly directions.

erta Image to the left: Sat.-image of infrared resolution (MODIS) of he Dalffailla eruption (north of Erta Ale) in November 2008, showing lavaflows to the north east and hot gas clouds.

ERTA ALE: the morphology of the crater in 2002

The south crater was of ellipsoid shape of about 160m in east-west orientation and about 130m in north-south orientation. Inside the crater, about 1/2 of the area was taken up by a lava lake. The lava lake surface was about 90m below the western rim of the south pit. The reamining 1/2 area in the east were covered by basalt rock which built a terrace about 45 meters below the crater rim.
This was a little surprise to us, because the last observations found the terrace at about 70m below the rim, and widely covered with talus. Therefore the lava lake must had risen up to the present terrace altitude between spring 2002 and our visit on December 2nd. Almost no talus was found on the terrace which indicates, that the lava cover of the terrace was not old at all. A lava sample of this new lava flows covering the terrace was taken for analyses.
map1 Figure 1 (left): A sketch map of the active crater at Erta Ale on 2 December 2002. The elliptical crater was WE 160 m (X) and NS 130 m. The lava lake (taking part 50% of the crater) from WE was approximately 100 m. Our descents (dotted line) were made at point (D) in the north. Lava fountaining up to 20 m high occured in different areas at the crater lake, but mainly in the west, south and center. Courtesy of C. Weber
The area (A) of the three collapses are indicated with a line of stipes. At a length of about 50 m along the crater wall and with an average of 10 m wide, around 40 m of the vertical crater wall collapsed in three sequences. The second and the third collapses were a little bigger than the first one. All together we estimate a volume of 20,000 cubic meter of rocks.
map2 Figure 2 (left): A sketch map of a cross-section of the active crater at Erta Ale on 2 December 2002 from east (E) to west (W). The altitude from the crater rim at the east (E) down to the terrace (T) was 45 m. In the north at our descent (D), indicated with the dotted line, about 40 m down to the terrace. In the west part the altitude from the crater rim (W) to the lava lake was 80 m in total (Y). Courtesy of C. Weber.
We don't know when the lava covered the former lava terrace, but we think because of the few rocks being found on the suface, that not much time has passed after this has happened. On the other hand, the fracturs in this lava layers were quite cold and therefore we estimate, that the overflows of the old terrace was about September 2002.

Several earthquakes were noticed during the stay. No seismic equipment was present, but nontheless five seismic events were well observed. On Dec. 4, 2002, a short trembling was noticed by group members in the early evening hours. The following day, on Dec. 5, at 12:40 and 13:12 local time, at both times a series of two seismic events of each 1-2 second of duration and a several-second break was noticed through ground trembling and noise. No rapid change on the lava lake was noticed at that time.
Strong fumarolic activity was inside and outsiden the NW crater. Also on the outside of the caldera rim fumaroles were found. At that places, grass is living off the water vapors, while eggshell-like gypsum structures grow in a large field around the fumarole openings.

ABSTRACT: The basaltic shield volcano Erta Ale is located in the center of the Danakil desert. Erta Ale consists of a caldera with 1.6 to 0.7 km elliptic shape and with a base of 50 km wide. The summit of Erta Ale rises from below sealevel to about 600 m altitude. One or more of Erta Ale summit craters contain lava lakes since decades.


Links to other websides:


Copyright (c) 1999-2014: VHDL