Contact | RSS | EN | DE | EL | ES | FR | IT | RU

Volcanoes of Africa & Arabia

Djibouti (2 volcanoes): Ardoukôba | Babba'Olou
Ethiopia (77 volcanoes): Adwa | Afderà | Alayta | Ale Bagu | Ali Mela | Alu | Alutu | Asavyo | Asgura | Ayelu | Badi | Beru | Bilate River Field | Bishoftu Volcanic Field | Boina | Bora-Bericcio | Borale Ale | Borawli | Boset-Bericha | Butajiri-Silti Field | Ch'Ilalo | Chew Bahir | Chiracha | Corbetti Caldera | Dabbahu | Dabbayra | Dalafilla | Dalaha'ale | Dallol | Dama Ali | Data Gabalti | Dawa Ale-Quarry | Didolli | Dofen | Duguna | East Zway | Egersuwa | Ela | Erta Ale | Fantale | Finini | Gabillema | Gad Elu | Gada Ale | Gademota Caldera | Gedamsa | Groppo | Hayli Gubbi | Hertali | Hobitcha Caldera | Katahelu | Kone | Korath Range | Kurub | Liado Hayk | Ma Alalta | Manda Gargori | Manda Hararo | Manda-Inakir | Mat Ala | Mega Basalt Field | Mousa Alli | O'a Caldera | Oyma | Sodore | Sork Ale | Tat Ali | Tepi | Tosa Sucha | Tullu Moje | Undurer | Unnamed 8.07°N / 39.07°E | Unnamed 8.62°N / 38.95°E | Unnamed 8.70/39.63 | Unnamed 8.7°N / 39.63°E | Yangudi | Zikwala
Libya (3 volcanoes): Haruj | Wau-en-Namus | Waw an Namous
Nigeria (2 volcanoes): Biu Plateau | Jos Plateau
Rwanda (1 volcano): Sabinyo
Senegal (1 volcano): Cap-Vert
Show interactive Map
[hide map] [enlarge]

The East African Rift Valley

Map of East Africa showing some of the historically active volcanoes (red triangles) and the Afar Triangle (shaded, center) -- a so-called triple junction (or triple point), where three plates are pulling away from one another: the Arabian Plate, and the two parts of the African Plate (the Nubian and the Somalian) splitting along the East African Rift Zone.
Map of East Africa showing some of the historically active volcanoes (red triangles) and the Afar Triangle (shaded, center) -- a so-called triple junction (or triple point), where three plates are pulling away from one another: the Arabian Plate, and the two parts of the African Plate (the Nubian and the Somalian) splitting along the East African Rift Zone.

From: Kious and Tilling, 1996, This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics: USGS Online version 1.08



In East Africa, spreading processes have already torn Saudi Arabia away from the rest of the African continent, forming the Red Sea. The actively splitting African Plate and the Arabian Plate meet in what geologists call a triple junction, where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden. A new spreading centre may be developing under Africa along the East African Rift Zone. When the continental crust stretches beyond its limits, tension cracks begin to appear on the Earth's surface. Magma rises and squeezes through the widening cracks, sometimes to erupt and form volcanoes. The rising magma, whether or not it erupts, puts more pressure on the crust to produce additional fractures and, ultimately, the rift zone.
East Africa may be the site of the Earth's next major ocean. Plate interactions in the region provide scientists an opportunity to study first hand how the Atlantic may have begun to form about 200 million years ago. Geologists believe that, if spreading continues, the three plates that meet at the edge of the present-day African continent will separate completely; allowing the Indian Ocean to flood the area and making the easternmost corner of Africa (the Horn of Africa) a large island.


Latest news

Sat, 31 Dec 2022, 12:11

Erta Ale volcano (Danakil depression, Ethiopia): hornito in southern pit crater continues to be active, field report

The hornito within the southern pit crater and emitting glowing gas and water vapor emissions (image: Enku Mulugeta/VolcanoDiscovery Ethiopia)
Our expedition leader and local guide from VolcanoDiscovery Ethiopia, Enku Mulugeta, visited the volcano in late December to make new observations. Read all
Tue, 1 Nov 2022, 20:17

Erta Ale volcano (Danakil depression, Ethiopia): intense activity in southern pit crater reported from field observations

Overwhelming night-time lava lake glow within the southern pit crater (image: Enku Mulugeta)
Our expedition leader and guide from VolcanoDiscovery Ethiopia, Enku Mulugeta, visited the volcano in mid-October to make new observations. A couple of significant changes in the southern pit crater have been observed since the last update. ... Read all
  • Tours in Africa

Schematic map of Africa's most active volcanoes
Schematic map of Africa's most active volcanoes
Volcanoes in Africa
Adapted from: Simpkin and Siebert, 1994, Volcanoes of the World:
Africa is the only region other than the Mediterranean with an historically dated B.C. eruption (at Mount Cameroon, observed by a passing Carthaginian navigator in the 5th century B.C.). By the 15th centuray A.D., however, when Portuguese exploration of Africa had begun and Vasco de Gama sailed to India via the Cape of Good Hope, only 2 more eruptions had been recorded, both from Ethiopia. In the next 3 and two-thirds centuries, another 20 some eruptions were recorded, but the main historical record of the continent began with the opening of the Suez Canal at the end of 1869, and the heyday of African exploration that followed.
Most African volcanoes result from hotspots, the rifting in East Africa, or a combination of the two. The East African rift, one of the world's most dramatic extensional structures, has produced the continent's highest and lowest volcanoes, ranging from the massive Kilimanjaro to vents in Ethiopia's Danakil Depression that lie below sea level.
Two neighboring volcanoes in Zaire's (today's Democratic Republic of the Congo) Virunga National Park, Nyamuragira and Nyiragongo, are responsible for nearly two-fifths of Africa's historical eruptions.

Try our free app!
Volcanoes & Earthquakes - new app for Android
Android | iOS version

More on VolcanoDiscovery

Support us - Help us upgrade our services!

We truly love working to bring you the latest volcano and earthquake data from around the world. Maintaining our website and our free apps does require, however, considerable time and resources.
We need financing to increase hard- and software capacity as well as support our editor team. We're aiming to achieve uninterrupted service wherever an earthquake or volcano eruption unfolds, and your donations can make it happen! Every donation will be highly appreciated. If you find the information useful and would like to support our team in integrating further features, write great content, and in upgrading our soft- and hardware, please make a donation (PayPal or Online credit card payment).

Planned features:
  • Improved multilanguage support
  • Tsunami alerts
  • Faster responsiveness
Thanks to your past donations, these features have been added recently:
  • Design upgrade
  • Detailed quake stats
  • Additional seismic data sources
Download and Upgrade the Volcanoes & Earthquakes app to get one of the fastest seismic and volcano alerts online:
Android | IOS
Thank you!
Sources: VolcanoDiscovery / VolcanoAdventures and other sources as noted.
Use of material: Most text and images on our websites are owned by us. Re-use is generally not permitted without authorization. Contact us for licensing rights.
Volcanoes & Earthquakes
VolcanoDiscovery Home
Volcanoes | Earthquakes | Photos | Volcano News | App
Adventure & Study Travel
Tours to Volcanoes and Volcanic Areas: walking tours, photo tours, study tours
Tours & Dates | FAQ | About us
Get our newsletter!
Company info
Contact | Legal info | Terms & conditions
Follow us
Follow us on facebook Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Twitter Visit our Youtube channel
EN | DE | EL | ES | FR | IT | RU
VolcanoDiscovery GmbH, Germany, Reg. nr.: HRB 103744, EU Tax Id: DE 310 395 322 owned and created by
Dr. Tom Pfeiffer, volcanologist, volcano photographer, tour organizer member of
IAVCEI
Volcanological Society
Ecotourism Greece
Insured by R+V
VolcanoDiscovery © 2004- All Rights Reserved | Privacy - cookie settings