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New lava flows from Erta’Ale

There hasn’t been a lot of coverage in the news, but Ethiopia’s Erta’Ale has started issuing new lava flows over the last week. I got a note from an Eruptions reader who is near the volcano that offers some details:

Just back a couple of days ago from Erte Ale on one of Tom Pheifers Volcano Discovery Tours, and Erte Ale has begun to have lava flows.The lava lake often boiled over causing small flows. The pit has grownup and now sits about 20m above the old one with lava right at the surface.

There are also a report from the Leeds University Afar Rift Consortium that mentions the new lava flows – with images of lava flows and samples taken from these new eruptive products, all from November 21-23. It seems pretty clear that the lava lake in the crater of the volcano is very active, with lava flows coming from breaches in the lake and small spatter cones/ramparts forming from the fountaining of the low viscosity basalt magma. Especially evident is how much the crater lake area has filled with lava since February 2010 (see below). All this activity is part of the ongoing activity at Erta’Ale that started in 1967 – and all part of the Eastern African Rift.

The changes in the lava within the crater from February to November 2010. Image from the Afar Rift Consortium.

Top left: Lava flow and spatter from Erta’Ale, erupted on November 22, 2010. Image from the Afar Rift Consortium.


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