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Erta Ale volcano update: security and volcanic activity

Sat, 16 Dec 2017, 08:58
08:58 AM | IS
Observers at the edge of Erta Ale´s summit lava lake around dawn, November 2015 (photo: Ingrid Smet - VolcanoAdventures)
Observers at the edge of Erta Ale´s summit lava lake around dawn, November 2015 (photo: Ingrid Smet - VolcanoAdventures)
Our Danakil expedition organiser and tour guide Enku has returned from a short visit to Erta Ale and informed us about both the security situation on the volcano as its activity at the summit.

Regarding the tragic incident that occurred on Sunday 3 December, he learned from his conversations with colleagues and local authorities that the German tourist was identified as Walter Roepert, age 63, and died on the scene while his translator got badly injured and is currently still being treated in Mekele hospital. The incident happened near the Eritrean Boarder where the two men were walking in a misdirected path that took them away from the rest of their large group. The Ethiopian authorities arrested some of the suspected police men and the armed Afar guides who might have opened fire when they mistook the two men as a potential threat. This tragic accident shows that despite the fact that there was no organised attack in the region since January 2012, the armed guards and local policemen are taking their duty seriously and tensions remain high, which is why it is so important to visit this area with an experienced expedition leader and trusted local guides.

The area remains open for tourism and continues to be secured by a combination of the Ethiopian Federal Force and special Afar force keeping. Tourism at Erta Ale seems not to have been influenced at all by this incident as all tours previously planned are being carried out as usual.

With regards to Erta Ale volcano´s activity, Enku informed us that the lava lake in the southern summit crater is very active and constantly changing. It is now an ellipse of about 100 m by 200 m and the lake has risen somewhat again, being about 35 m below the rim of the vent. As it rises, volcanic gasses can escape more easily and observation of the lava lake is once again getting better, not only during the nighttime but also for daytime observation.



-video of the summit lava lake taken early December by Naizgi Gebremedhin -

Previous news

Wed, 6 Dec 2017, 10:07

Erta Ale volcano (Ethiopia): German tourist killed - probably by accident

Watching the lava lake of Erta Ale at dusk (image: Ingrid Smet / VolcanoAdventures)
Very sad news arrives from the Danakil desert where last Sunday 3 December a German tourist died and his Ethiopian guide got injured while they were climbing Erta Ale. The two were part of a larger tourist group which had traveled from Mekele and was making their way up to the summit of the volcano. ... Read all
Thu, 24 Aug 2017, 16:07

Erta Ale volcano update: Erta Ale (Ethiopia) activity update: continued strong activity at flank eruption site

Sentinel 2 satellite image of Erta Ale volcano taken on 17 August 2017 (image: SENTINEL2 / ESA-Copernicus data)
Volcanic activity remains very high at Erta Ale, the shield volcano in the Danakil depression in northern Ethiopia. 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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