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Erta Ale volcano (Ethiopia): flank eruption confirmed, still going strong, field report 16-21 Jan

Thu, 26 Jan 2017, 13:17
13:17 PM | BY: T
Hot spots on Erta Ale's caldera (MODIS data, Univ. Hawai'i)
Hot spots on Erta Ale's caldera (MODIS data, Univ. Hawai'i)
Heat signal from Erta Ale showing the extreme values since 19 Jan (MIROVA)
Heat signal from Erta Ale showing the extreme values since 19 Jan (MIROVA)
The flank eruption has been confirmed and it is still going on strong.
Our expedition guide, geologist Enku Mulugeta, was on location immediately before (16-20 Jan) and is in contact with researchers from Addis Abeba University. He confirmed us that the eruption started on 21 Jan 2017 and that we will try to reach the area on our upcoming expedition to Erta Ale. (4-17 Feb, few last minute spots still possible!)
The site of the eruption is a series of fissures on the southeastern side of Erta Ale, between Erta Ale and Amaitole mountain in the valley about 200m above sea level. It has been ejecting voluminous lava flows running towards the Afdera side. The eruption is still continuing and producing a strong and bright glow at night. .

Our next will try to reach the area.

Enku's field report from Erta Ale 16-20 Jan:
"As soon as we arrived in the morning of 16 Jan 2017, we tried to observe the southern crater from the distance of 4m at the southern direction and the swelling up reached at the mouth of the rim with small fountains.
The vigorous overflow started at 10:30 Am in the southwestern direction and we were following every steps from the near by view point hill.
The activety continued progressively in both sides of the rim and at about 4 Pm in the afternoon both the fountaining and overflow reached at climax and covered the surface of the whole caldera with an average speed of 50Km/hour.
The hill the we usually was observing the Lava Lake is totally engulfed with low viscous ,speedy and deep orange coloured fresh lava flows that we can not move down to the caldera.The only access was from our shade area and the small hill place where the security takes their position for watching.
On the 17 Jan 2017 the overflow seems slowing down and swelling up continuing again with a fountain in the northern direction 3m high.
In the afternoon the activety reached at climax and broke the crater wall rim and started to flow with high speed in all directions .This day is a like a records in Erta Ale history specially because the volumeness lava ejection and observing 20 -30m fountains splashing on the norther side of the wall.
We were observing the vigorous eruption whole night and in the morning of 18 Jan 2017 the crater seems to build a kind of wall specially in the northern direction in an inclination 45 degree towards the crater.
The flow reached at the walls of the older caldera and even comes up to our camp wall.
The following has been estimated in all directions :
Southeast side runs about 500m,
North side runs about 300m,
Northwestern runs 500m,
Northeast side runs 300m with an average thickness of about 3m.
On 18 Jan 2017 it is more of fairly continued fountains 10 -15m high.
It is highly pressurized and the northern edge of the molten lava lake is surrounded by embryonic cone , built by fountaining activity.
On 19 Jan 2017, we started our morning again with big splashes , strong fountains and overflows specially in the southwestern direction with every 20 minutes process of the level goes down wards and swelling up alternatively.
The episode consisted of many volcanic events with an estimated lava discharge of 50m3 / second in all directions and 20m high lava fountains.
The building up of the northern edge of the lava lake continued to make embryonic cone/wall and the crater is almost blocked from the northern side.

21 Jan 2017 is the day that another eruption has occurred southeastern side of Erta Ale Lava Lake with huge emission of lava to the east that is the flow runs to the Afdera side."

Previous news

Wed, 25 Jan 2017, 11:09

Erta Ale volcano (Ethiopia): new flank eruption reported

Hot spots on Erta Ale - the reported flank eruption is not (yet) visible (MODIS data, Univ. Hawai'i)
News have come in about a fissure eruption at the SE flank of the volcano, approx. 7 km distance from the summit caldera and its lava lake (which partially collapsed on and after 20 Jan). ... Read all
Wed, 25 Jan 2017, 06:00

Erta Ale volcano (Ethiopia) - Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report for 25 January-31 January 2017 (New Activity / Unrest)

According to Volcano Discovery, visitors noted changes at Erta Ale's lava lake during 16-20 January characterized by waves in the lava lake, intense spattering, fountaining, and rim overflows (mainly on 17 January) which traveled as far as 1 km. During the evening of 20 January explosions of very large gas bubbles ejected spatter 30 m high. Crater rim collapses affected the N crater where a new oval-shaped pit crater (150 x 30 m and 20 m depth) formed during a 24-hour period. ... Read all
Show more
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) Erta Ale volcano eruptions:
1873(?), 1903(?), 1904(?), 1906, 1940, 1960, 1967-2004, 2005-ongoing
Typical eruption style
Effusive. Persistant lava lake.

Erta Ale volcano tours

Danakil desert (Ethiopia)
Desert, salt and volcanoes
14 days expedition to Erta Ale volcano and Dallol hydrothermal field (Danakil desert, Ethiopia)
14 days / 13 nights - Moderate
Price $ 4530
no scheduled dates at present
Danakil desert (Ethiopia)
Erta Ale Volcano Special
in response to recent high activitiy in the Southern crater and growing lava lake (Danakil desert, Ethiopia)
8 days - Moderate
Price $ 2590
Custom and group dates
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