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Danakil expedition Nov-Dec 08, part I: Erta Ale volcano

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The lava lake seen from above (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The lava lake seen from above (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The typical activity of the lava lake with a stable fountain on its western rim. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The typical activity of the lava lake with a stable fountain on its western rim. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffe... [info]
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The sun is just about to rise above the horizon. The lava lake is mostly crusted over and the dry weather makes for a very clear view onto the lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The sun is just about to rise above the horizon. The lava lake is mostly crusted over and the dry we... [info]
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The morning sun illuminates the caldera walls orange. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The morning sun illuminates the caldera walls orange. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Vertical view onto the lava lake in the evening showing a typical scene of activity: 3 areas at the lake shore are moderately fountaining and several rifts occur on the surface of the lake, driven by internal convection of the magma. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Vertical view onto the lava lake in the evening showing a typical scene of activity: 3 areas at the ... [info]
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The surface of the lava lake in the evening, when the rift zones are starting to glow red, revealing fresh magma welling up. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The surface of the lava lake in the evening, when the rift zones are starting to glow red, revealing... [info]
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View over the active lava lake (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View over the active lava lake (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Evening view onto the south crater; some observers are small dots on the crater rim. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Evening view onto the south crater; some observers are small dots on the crater rim. (Photo: Tom Pfe... [info]
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As it grows darker, the glow becomes more impressive and our groups starts to gather for countless hours of night-time observations. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
As it grows darker, the glow becomes more impressive and our groups starts to gather for countless h... [info]
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Violent fountaining starts from the northern margin of the lava lake at sunset. (Photo: Steve Hunt)
Violent fountaining starts from the northern margin of the lava lake at sunset. (Photo: Steve Hunt) [info]
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Strong fountaining from the northern margin of the lake makes a great firework, throwing spatter high above the lower crater rim. Many lava clots land outside of the lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Strong fountaining from the northern margin of the lake makes a great firework, throwing spatter hig... [info]
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The fountaining looks like strombolian activity! (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The fountaining looks like strombolian activity! (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Most of us gather on the western rim, to enjoy the spectacular fountaining at night. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Most of us gather on the western rim, to enjoy the spectacular fountaining at night. (Photo: Tom Pfe... [info]
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The group on the rim of the crater, whose walls are illuminated bright yellow and orange by the fountaining. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The group on the rim of the crater, whose walls are illuminated bright yellow and orange by the foun... [info]
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Night-time patterns on the surface of the lava lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Night-time patterns on the surface of the lava lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Jorge and Steve taking pictures at night (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Jorge and Steve taking pictures at night (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Folds created by "tectonic" movements of the relatively thick, but still plastically deforming crust of the lava lake (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Folds created by "tectonic" movements of the relatively thick, but still plastically deforming crust... [info]
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After an extended period of stable crust and relative inactivity, the now heavy crust starts to overturn and sink back into the liquid lake, causing very violent fountaining all along the perimeter of the lake and new rapid rifts creating new crust.  (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
After an extended period of stable crust and relative inactivity, the now heavy crust starts to over... [info]
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Sulphur covers part of the walls of a small, deep pit crater in the caldera, near the north crater (background). Sulphur from fumaroles also covers the caldera walls in the background. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Sulphur covers part of the walls of a small, deep pit crater in the caldera, near the north crater (... [info]
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Abstract patterns on the surface of the lava lake  (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Abstract patterns on the surface of the lava lake (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Close-up onto the lava sloshing out from the fountain at the lake shore (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Close-up onto the lava sloshing out from the fountain at the lake shore (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Sloshing lava onto the crust of the lava lake (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Sloshing lava onto the crust of the lava lake (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Spattering from the (hidden) fountain and the illuminated inner crater walls (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Spattering from the (hidden) fountain and the illuminated inner crater walls (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Fountaining illuminates the crater walls. Some observers are gathered on the left rim of the lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Fountaining illuminates the crater walls. Some observers are gathered on the left rim of the lake. (... [info]
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Exploding lava bubble at the fountain at the margin of the lake (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Exploding lava bubble at the fountain at the margin of the lake (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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A widening crack in the lava lake's crust is developing into a rift. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A widening crack in the lava lake's crust is developing into a rift. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The lava lake is sometimes effectively "tapped" for more than an hour at a time - covered with a stable crust preventing degassing. At some point, this crust becomes too heavy to be supported and often triggers spectacular overturns, permitting the lake to degas again in often very violent fountains. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The lava lake is sometimes effectively "tapped" for more than an hour at a time - covered with a sta... [info]
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A circular fountain starts to develop at the margins of the lake, after a period where the lake was tapped by a solid crust. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A circular fountain starts to develop at the margins of the lake, after a period where the lake was ... [info]
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The lava fountain at the margin of the lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The lava fountain at the margin of the lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The opening of the crust along its margins is progressing and creates new fountains. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The opening of the crust along its margins is progressing and creates new fountains. (Photo: Tom Pfe... [info]
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The view from the north onto the lava lake inside its pit crater, about 50 meter wide, in the south crater. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The view from the north onto the lava lake inside its pit crater, about 50 meter wide, in the south ... [info]
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A collision zone between two plates of the lava lake's crust where one plate is thrusted over the other plate.  (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
A collision zone between two plates of the lava lake's crust where one plate is thrusted over the ot... [info]
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Exploding lava bubble on the axis of a rift zone. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Exploding lava bubble on the axis of a rift zone. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Detail of a rift zone on the lake's crust (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Detail of a rift zone on the lake's crust (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The floor of the caldera consists of pahoehoe lava flows, most of them originating from eruptions caused by overflows of the lava lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The floor of the caldera consists of pahoehoe lava flows, most of them originating from eruptions ca... [info]
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The group and our camp above the south crater. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The group and our camp above the south crater. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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