Erta Ale

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Erta Ale
Erta Ale.jpg
Erta Ale in May 2008
Elevation 613 m (2,011 ft)[1]
Listing List of volcanoes in Ethiopia
Location
Erta Ale is located in Ethiopia
Erta Ale
Erta Ale
Afar Depression, Afar Region, Ethiopia
Range Erta Ale Range
Coordinates 13°36′N 40°40′E / 13.600°N 40.667°E / 13.600; 40.667Coordinates: 13°36′N 40°40′E / 13.600°N 40.667°E / 13.600; 40.667[2]
Geology
Type Shield volcano
Last eruption 1967 to 2013[2]

Erta Ale (or Ertale or Irta'ale) is a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia. It is in the Afar Depression, a badland desert area spanning the border with Eritrea, and the volcano itself is surrounded completely by an area below sea level,[citation needed] making it a relatively low-elevation volcano. It is the most active volcano in Ethiopia.

Geology[edit]

Erta Ale is 613 metres (2,011 ft) high, with one or sometimes two active lava lakes at the summit which occasionally overflow on the south side of the volcano.[1] It is notable for holding the longest-existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century (1906). Volcanoes with lava lakes are very rare: there are only six in the world.[3]

Erta Ale means "smoking mountain" in the local Afar language and its southernmost pit is known locally as "the gateway to Hell". In 2009, it was mapped by a team from the BBC using three-dimensional laser techniques,[4] in order for the mapping team to maintain a distance and avoid the lakes' searingly hot temperatures.

Erta Ale is centered over the east African rift system, which is a triple junction setting whose movements are resulting in the formation of a pull apart basin or rift. The volcano comprises mainly Mafic material which has been brought up to the surface caused by unroofing of the mantle due to this rift formation.[citation needed]

Not much is known about Erta Ale, as the surrounding terrain is some of the most inhospitable on Earth and the native Afar people have a legendary reputation for viciousness towards outsiders; one travel guide recommends hiring "one or maybe two armed guards or police" to visit Erta Ale.[5] However, they welcomed and helped a team from BBC.[6] On January 16, 2012, a group of German, Austrian and Hungarian scientists/tourists was attacked at Erta Ale. Five scientists/tourists were killed, some taken as hostages and others wounded.[7] The Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF) claimed responsibility for the attack[8] and released the two kidnapped tourists in March 2012.[9]

Eruptions[edit]

There was a major eruption on 25 September 2005 which killed 250 head of livestock and forced thousands of nearby residents to flee.[10] There was further lava flow in August 2007, forcing the evacuation of hundreds and leaving two missing.[11] An eruption on 4 November 2008 was reported by scientists at Addis Ababa University.[12]

Gallery[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The lava lake on Erta Ale was shown briefly during the 2010 movie Clash of the Titans during the journey sequence where Perseus travels to the underworld.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Erta Ale, Ethiopia". Volcano World. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 
  2. ^ a b "Erta Ale". Global Volcanism Program, Smithsonian Institution. http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=0201-08%3D. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  3. ^ "Episode 1: The Horn of Africa". On the Volcanoes of the World. The Science Channel. http://science.discovery.com/tv-schedules/series.html?paid=48.15734.125515.36287.x. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  4. ^ Hottest Place On Earth, Episode 2 at bbc.co.uk
  5. ^ Briggs, Philip; Blatt, Brian (2009). Ethiopia: the Bradt Travel Guide (Fifth ed.). Chalfont St Peter: Bradt Travel Guides. p. 313. ISBN 978-1-84162-284-2. 
  6. ^ Staff writers (19 March 2009). "Inside the hottest place on Earth". BBC News. Retrieved 24 December 2010. 
  7. ^ "Deadly attack on tourists at Erta Ale - further details: 5 dead, 4 abducted and 7 wounded". VolcanoDiscovery. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "Erta Ale Janurary (sic) 17 kidnapping - ARDUF claims responsability (sic), hostages said to be well". VolcanoDiscovery. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Kidnapped German tourists released (Erta Ale, Danakil, Ethiopia incident 17 Jan 2012)". VolcanoDiscovery. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Focus on Ethiopia, September 2005", UN-OCHA . Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  11. ^ "Fears after volcano in Ethiopia". BBC News. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  12. ^ "Volcano erupts in Ertale volcanic area of Afar Region", Ethiopian News Agency website . Retrieved 20 January 2010.

External links[edit]