Get our newsletter!
Check out our volcano tours on VolcanoAdventures.com!
Volcanoes & Earthquakes - new app for Android
Départs garantis:
8-16 mai 2021: Montagnes de Feu - du Stromboli à l'Etna - Eoliennes + Etna
: Places libres / : Départ garanti / : Quelques places disponibles / : Groupe fermé

Erta Ale volcano (Ethiopia): overflowing lava lake 16-19 Jan 2017

Paul Reichert who took part in one of our latest Volcano Specials in January 2017 was lucky to witness one of Erta Ale volcano's most spectacular and intense eruptive phases in decades.
A surge of magma from depth (probably a small rifting episode) caused the lava lake in the southern pit crater of the caldera to overflow, build up a broad shield, before it collapsed, following the draining of the lake through a system of flank fissures 2-4 km downhill from 21 Jan - a mere day after Paul and his group had left.
The following is a selection of pictures of Paul, in approximate chronological order and annotated using the valuable field reports by Richard and our geologist expedition leader Enku who, along with Paul, were lucky enough to see this once-in-a-lifetime event. A big thank you goes to all of the three for sharing their information and images!
Watch the videos: 16 Jan | 17 Jan | 18-19 Jan
The center of the less active northern pit crater with remnants of two large hornitos surrounded by fresh lava flows. This crater collapsed shortly after our group had left. (16 Jan) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
The center of the less active northern pit crater with remnants of two large hornitos surrounded by ... [info]
(1338 Hits)
First view of the lava lake in the south crater in the early morning of 16 Jan: the lava lake stands at its rim, ready to flow over... "We approached as close as 4m from the lava lake edge just observing a lava surface waving (30cm in amplitude)" (Richard). 
Approaching the rim of the lava lake was extremely difficult due to the intense heat and the need to walk on barely hardened fresh shelly pahoehoe with thin crusts that often ´gives in when stepped on. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
First view of the lava lake in the south crater in the early morning of 16 Jan: the lava lake stands... [info]
(1232 Hits)
Formation of Pele's hair - thin glassy filaments of lava as molten spatter is ejected and torn into threads by exploding gas bubbles from the lava lake. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Formation of Pele's hair - thin glassy filaments of lava as molten spatter is ejected and torn into ... [info]
(1176 Hits)
Lava turtle (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Lava turtle (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(1232 Hits)
Lava bubble explosion from close, showing the formation of Pele's Hair. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Lava bubble explosion from close, showing the formation of Pele's Hair. (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(1253 Hits)
"A vigorous overflow of the western rim started at 10:30 am (16 Jan) and produced a flood of lava that went in the southwestern direction." (Enku) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
"A vigorous overflow of the western rim started at 10:30 am (16 Jan) and produced a flood of lava th... [info]
(1438 Hits)
Lava was moving at several meters per second speed. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Lava was moving at several meters per second speed. (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(1849 Hits)
Further away, the flow front slowed down, forming shelly, thin-crusted silvery pahoehoe lava twisted and folded into abstract shapes, nature being the greatest artist of all. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Further away, the flow front slowed down, forming shelly, thin-crusted silvery pahoehoe lava twisted... [info]
(1276 Hits)
A small spatter rampart at the southern end of the lava lake's rim remains one of the only parts of the rim that is not being overflown by lava... (16 Jan). (Photo: Paul Reichert)
A small spatter rampart at the southern end of the lava lake's rim remains one of the only parts of ... [info]
(1187 Hits)
Rivers of lava meandering on the caldera floor. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Rivers of lava meandering on the caldera floor. (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(1112 Hits)
(16 Jan) "The activity continued progressively from both sides of the rim and at about 4 pm in the afternoon both the fountaining and overflow reached a climax and covered the surface of the whole caldera with an average speed of 50 km/hour." (Enku) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
(16 Jan) "The activity continued progressively from both sides of the rim and at about 4 pm in the a... [info]
(1118 Hits)
Evening light on the eastern caldera wall (background) and a channeled lava flow towards the west (evening 16 Jan). (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Evening light on the eastern caldera wall (background) and a channeled lava flow towards the west (e... [info]
(1118 Hits)
Fast-moving lava flow detail. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Fast-moving lava flow detail. (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(1354 Hits)
16 Jan evening: View from NW towards the south crater with its lava lake from campsite. What used to be a pit crater has been replaced by a sizeable lava shield currently feeding an overflow to the western caldera wall. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
16 Jan evening: View from NW towards the south crater with its lava lake from campsite. What used to... [info]
(1036 Hits)
Night-time view of the western overflow (16 Jan evening). In the background to the right, another lava flow is visible: "In the afternoon other two lava rivers appeared on SW flank (the length ca 500 m)." (Richard) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Night-time view of the western overflow (16 Jan evening). In the background to the right, another la... [info]
(1031 Hits)
Sunrise over the caldera on 17 Jan. Another exciting day lies ahead... (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Sunrise over the caldera on 17 Jan. Another exciting day lies ahead... (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(923 Hits)
Another view of the inactive northern crater with a young lava field in the foreground and the prominent hornitos in the left background. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Another view of the inactive northern crater with a young lava field in the foreground and the promi... [info]
(863 Hits)
17 Jan noon. After a phase of lava lake falling and rising, new overflows begin to manifest themselves in the early afternoon. "At about 1PM two overflows began on south rim and during the time the lava flows were intensifying." (Richard) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
17 Jan noon. After a phase of lava lake falling and rising, new overflows begin to manifest themselv... [info]
(811 Hits)
View of 3 narrow lava flows running parallel from the western rim. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
View of 3 narrow lava flows running parallel from the western rim. (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(782 Hits)
Degassing creates small fountains a few meters high at the same time. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Degassing creates small fountains a few meters high at the same time. (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(779 Hits)
More and more lava overflows start to leave the perched lava lake filling its flat crater to the rim. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
More and more lava overflows start to leave the perched lava lake filling its flat crater to the rim... [info]
(748 Hits)
View (from NW) of the new lava shield produced during the past 2 months mainly, located at the place where there was once the southern pit crater with its lava lake inside. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
View (from NW) of the new lava shield produced during the past 2 months mainly, located at the place... [info]
(737 Hits)
A string of lava is thrown into the air as a larger gas bubble explodes while lava is surging out from the bowl. 
"We were observing 20-30 m fountains splashing on the norther side of the wall." (Enku) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
A string of lava is thrown into the air as a larger gas bubble explodes while lava is surging out fr... [info]
(745 Hits)
At about 3 PM other overflows appeared on NE and N flank and at last ca 70% of the lava lake rim was overflowed. I can hardly say it was overflow - it was a lava flood or an eruption. The volcano was producing about 200-300 m3 of fresh lava per second and it lasted ca 15 hours." (Richard) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
At about 3 PM other overflows appeared on NE and N flank and at last ca 70% of the lava lake rim was... [info]
(694 Hits)
Enku estimated the main flows to have reached about 500 m length on the SE side, 300 m on the N side, 500 m on the SW side
Northwestern runs 500m, and 300 m on the NE side, with an average thickness of 3 m. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Enku estimated the main flows to have reached about 500 m length on the SE side, 300 m on the N side... [info]
(690 Hits)
In the afternoon (17 Jan), lava flows on the SW side have covered much of the western caldera floor and invade the vaster, gently dipping southern part of the oval-shaped NW-SW oriented caldera of Erta Ale. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
In the afternoon (17 Jan), lava flows on the SW side have covered much of the western caldera floor ... [info]
(847 Hits)
The surge of magma increases during 17 Jan, generating multiple overflows from the lava lake at the top of the lava shield. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
The surge of magma increases during 17 Jan, generating multiple overflows from the lava lake at the ... [info]
(1271 Hits)
The lava overflows continue all day (17 Jan), producing spectacular views in the evening. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
The lava overflows continue all day (17 Jan), producing spectacular views in the evening. (Photo: Pa... [info]
(843 Hits)
The whole flanks of the lava shield are covered with active lava flows (evening 17 Jan). (Photo: Paul Reichert)
The whole flanks of the lava shield are covered with active lava flows (evening 17 Jan). (Photo: Pau... [info]
(810 Hits)
Zoom onto the lava overspilling the perched lava lake at the top of the shield on the whole western side (night 17-18 Jan). (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Zoom onto the lava overspilling the perched lava lake at the top of the shield on the whole western ... [info]
(813 Hits)
"In the next morning (18 Jan) all the surroundings of the south pit (500-700 m in all directions) was covered with glowing lava and it was impossible to approach the caldera edge in SW part due to the glow." (Richard) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
"In the next morning (18 Jan) all the surroundings of the south pit (500-700 m in all directions) wa... [info]
(718 Hits)
On 18 Jan 2017 the activity continues to produce some overflows, but is impressive because it shifts to produce fountains 10-15 m high. "It is highly pressurized and the northern edge of the molten lava lake is surrounded by an embryonic cone, built by fountaining activity." (Enku) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
On 18 Jan 2017 the activity continues to produce some overflows, but is impressive because it shifts... [info]
(700 Hits)
Vigorous spattering from the lava lake in the afternoon. "In the afternoon there were a sporadic overflows and the activity has changed. The lava lake level was fluctuating very fast (minutes) +- 10m." (Richard) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Vigorous spattering from the lava lake in the afternoon. "In the afternoon there were a sporadic ove... [info]
(693 Hits)
"When in high level, short time overflows appeared, when in low level the activity was similar to Strombolian one - there were the fountains reaching up to 50-60 m in height." (Richard) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
"When in high level, short time overflows appeared, when in low level the activity was similar to St... [info]
(674 Hits)
During 18 Jan evening, the lava level drops and violent spattering sets in from the lava lake (photo taken late evening of 18 Jan). (Photo: Paul Reichert)
During 18 Jan evening, the lava level drops and violent spattering sets in from the lava lake (photo... [info]
(664 Hits)
In the early hours of 19 Jan, the lava level rises again, leading to new overflows, accompanied by giant gas bubbles bursting at the lava lake's surface. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
In the early hours of 19 Jan, the lava level rises again, leading to new overflows, accompanied by g... [info]
(679 Hits)
Close view of spattering at the breached rim of the overflowing lava lake and the lava river. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Close view of spattering at the breached rim of the overflowing lava lake and the lava river. (Photo... [info]
(1184 Hits)
19 Jan morning: After a night of continuous strong spattering, a new cone has formed at the northern end of the lava lake. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
19 Jan morning: After a night of continuous strong spattering, a new cone has formed at the northern... [info]
(609 Hits)
Rising and falling lava lake levels alternate with overflows and exploding lava bubbles. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Rising and falling lava lake levels alternate with overflows and exploding lava bubbles. (Photo: Pau... [info]
(626 Hits)
"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." (Enku) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
"On 19 Jan 2017, we started our morning again with big splashes, strong fountains and overflows spec... [info]
(591 Hits)
Close-up of a violent fountaining phase at the northern end of the lava lake, where the liquid spatter rapidly accumulates to a new cone. (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Close-up of a violent fountaining phase at the northern end of the lava lake, where the liquid spatt... [info]
(1066 Hits)
"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." (Enku) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
"The building up of the northern edge of the lava lake continued to make embryonic cone/wall and the... [info]
(588 Hits)
19 Jan: "Activity was the same as a previous day - big fountains with sporadic lava flows reaching 500 m and the fluctuating lake level +-15m. We were so tired of the lava observation we started looking at outer flanks of Erta Ale..." (Richard) (Photo: Paul Reichert)
19 Jan: "Activity was the same as a previous day - big fountains with sporadic lava flows reaching 5... [info]
(632 Hits)
Intense lava glow illuminates the scene (night of 19 Jan) . (Photo: Paul Reichert)
Intense lava glow illuminates the scene (night of 19 Jan) . (Photo: Paul Reichert) [info]
(600 Hits)
 

Plus sur VolcanoDiscovery

 
Why is there advertising on this site?
Copyright: VolcanoDiscovery ou autres sources indiquées.
Utilisation des documents: Les textes, les images et les vidéos de ce site internet sont protégées par copyright. Toute reproduction et tout usage sans accord préalable ne sont pas autorisés. Si vous désirez acquérir pour certains documents (photos, vidéos, textes ou autres) le droit de reproduction, d'édition et, plus généralement, de toute utilisation destinée à un usage public, qu'elle soit commerciale ou pas, vous êtes priés de nous contacter.