Erta Ale volcano

Shield volcano 613 m / 2,011 ft
Danakil depression, Ethiopia, 13.6°N / 40.66°E
Current status: erupting (4 out of 5)
Last update: 8 Jan 2022 (lava lake remains active + field report)
Erta Ale's active crater containing the lava lake
Erta Ale's active crater containing the lava lake

Erta Ale volcano is a large basaltic shield volcano in the Erta Ale volcanic range in the central northern Danakil depression (NE Ethiopia).
It is famed for its persistent lava lake which has been active during most of the past decades since it was first discovered in the 1960s.
Erta Ale is only 613 m high, but as typical for a shield volcano has a very gentle slopes and a large 40 km diameter base. The summit is truncated by a complex, elongated 1700 x 600 m wide caldera which contains vast lava flows and several larger and smaller pit craters, most notably the active north and south crater, which contains the lava lake at present.
Erta Ale is one of the main attractions of the Danakil, and had became a popular tour destination in recent years. Unfortunately, the deadly attack on 4 January 2012 against tourists and scientists camped on the crater rim, in which several were killed, illustrates that the area is politically unstable and can be subject to terrorist attacks. Anyone visiting the volcano should be aware of this.

Show interactive Map
[hide map] [enlarge]
Typical eruption style: Effusive. Persistant lava lake.
Erta Ale volcano eruptions: 1873(?), 1903(?), 1904(?), 1906, 1940, 1960, 1967-2004, 2005-ongoing
Lastest nearby earthquakes: No recent earthquakes

Background

Erta Ale is one of the few volcanoes on the world that have an almost persistent lava lake. It is an isolated basaltic shield volcano, 50 km wide, rising more than 600 m from below sea level in the barren Danakil depression.
The volcano contains a 0.7 x 1.6 km elliptical summit crater with several steep-sided pit craters, one of them containing a lava lake. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1 km wide depression, elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale range is located to the 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 northern flank of Erta Ale.
---
Source: GVP, Smithsonian Institution

Erta Ale Photos

Erta Ale lava lake sunrise - january 2013 (Photo: Tom222)
Erta Ale lava lake sunrise - january 2013 (Photo: Tom222)
overview of of Erta Ales north crater with nice lavaflows - January 2013 (Photo: Tom222)
overview of of Erta Ales north crater with nice lavaflows - January 2013 (Photo: Tom222)
On 25 Nov, the lava level often rises to the rim of the ring wall, then descends again. Large spectacular bubbles burst. Note the intense heat blur and the formation of Pele's hair. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
On 25 Nov, the lava level often rises to the rim of the ring wall, then descends again. Large spectacular bubbles burst. Note the intense heat blur and the formation of P...
Eastern part of the South crater illuminated by moon and lava glow. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Eastern part of the South crater illuminated by moon and lava glow. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
 



Erta Ale volcano tours:
Highlights of Ethiopia (16 days expedition and trekking to Erta Ale volcano, Dallol, Lalibela and Semien mountains (Ethiopia))
Desert, salt and volcanoes (14 days expedition to Erta Ale volcano and Dallol hydrothermal field (Danakil desert, Ethiopia))

See also: Sentinel hub | Landsat 8 | NASA FIRMS
Show more
Try our free app!
Volcanoes & Earthquakes - new app for Android
Android | iOS version

More on VolcanoDiscovery

Why is there advertising on this site?
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:
  • Earthquake archive from 1900 onwards
  • 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!
Copyrights: VolcanoDiscovery and other sources as noted.
Use of material: Most texts and images, in particular photographs, on this website are protected by copyright. Further reproduction and use of without authorization is usually not consented. If you are not sure or need licensing rights for photographs, for example for publications and commercial use, please contact us.
Home | Travel | Destinations | Volcanoes | Photos | Earthquakes | About | Glossary | News | Contact | Privacy | Imprint | EN | DE | EL | ES | FR | IT | RU
Follow us:Follow us on facebookFollow us on InstagramFollow us on TwitterVisit our Youtube channel