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Posts Tagged ‘Erta Ale’

Volcanic Explosions Could Split More Than Africa

Posted by feww on November 4, 2009

Volcanic Explosions and Large Earthquakes Could Splinter Several Continents, Countries

Large earthquakes and volcanic explosions could split Arabian Plate, North American Plate, Pacific Plate [in multiple places] and shatter Filipino Plate.


Erta Ale, an active shield volcano located in the Afar Region [northeastern] of Ethiopia in the Danakil Desert, is Ethiopia’s only active volcano.License: cc-by-sa-2.0. Credit: posted to Flickr by filippo_jean.

Erta Ale is part of the so-called Afar Triangle, a highly active volcanic region which includes Dabbahu Volcano, located in the remote Afar Region of Ethiopia. Dabbahu eruption in 2005 created a large fissure in the ground, called the Dabbahu fissure. The volcano is the hottest place on Earth’s  surface.

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Dabbahu Fissure. Image JPL/NASA.

Leading to Dabbahu’s only known eruption in recorded history, which formed a 500 meter long fissure and a 30 meter wide pumice cone at the fissure’s southern end, on September 26, 2005 the ground swelled as a cluster of more than 130 tremors shook the area near the volcano.

dabbahu fissure
Dabbahu Fissure, along the Somalian Plate, Great Rift Valley (Boina/Afar, Danakil desert, Ethiopia). A ground rupture created during the September 2005 rifting event. Photo: Tony Philpotts/ AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Researchers say volcanic activity could split the African continent in two, a claim supported by a recent ground rupture that appeared in northeastern Ethiopia.

The 60-kilometre (35-mile) split in the desolate Afar region, which was the result of two volcanic eruptions in September 2005 [Dabbahu Episode, Afar,]  has enabled scientists to further examine the earth’s tectonic movements, said a report published in the Geophysical Research Letters.

“The significance of the finding is that a huge magnetic deformation can happen within a few days like in oceans,” Atalay Arefe, an Ethiopia-based university professor who was part of the study, told AFP in an interview.

Faults and fissures that normally occur on the ocean floor largely contribute to the continents breaking off  and moving away [spreading] from each other, in the same way African continent broke away from South American plate 100 million years ago.

“Normally, such phenomena happens beneath the ocean, which is inaccessible, expensive and very difficult to make experiments. But in Afar, it’s quite a natural laboratory for us to carry those out,” Atalay said.

Atalay, who was part of an international group of scientists who have been undertaking studies since the eruptions, said the event indicated what was likely to happen in the mainland.

“The ocean’s formation is happening slowly, likely to take a few million years. It will stretch from the Afar depression (straddling Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti) down to Mozambique,” he said.

At 120 meter below sea level, Ethiopia’s Afar Depression is one of the lowest and hottest places on Earth, famous for its salt mines.

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Posted in Arabian Plate, filipino plate, Gulf of aden rift, large earthquakes, Nubian Plate, red sea drift, Somalian plate, Volcanic Explosions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Volcano Watch No. 44

Posted by feww on November 6, 2008

Erta Ale Erupted

Update: Nov 7, 2008 – According to the latest news bulletins, the eruption in the Erta Ale, Africa’s largest in historic times,  was due to a fissure between Alu and Dalaffilla volcanoes.

Erta Ale, an active shield volcano located in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia [located some 600 km from Addis Ababa,] is Ethiopia’s only active volcano. Eye witnesses said the volcano erupted late Monday. Satellite photos show the lava had covered about 300 sq km, a record area.

The volcano  stands 613 meters tall, with a lava lake, one of only four in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century. It is located in the Danakil Depression, a desert area bordering Eritrea. The area is described as one of the hottest places on earth famed for its salt mines.

Erta Ale’s last major eruption in 2005 forced thousands of nearby residents to flee. Additional lava flow activity took place in August 2007, forcing the evacuation of hundreds and leaving two missing.

Erta Ale, Alu, Tat Ali and other Ethiopian highlands are together known as the Danakil Alps. (Sources: Addis Ababa University, various academic and news organizations, Wikipedia).


Erta Ale, an active shield volcano located in the Afar Region [northeastern] of Ethiopia in the Danakil Desert, is Ethiopia’s only active volcano. License: cc-by-sa-2.0. Credit: posted to Flickr by filippo_jean.

29 October – 4 November 2008

New Activity/Unrest:

Ongoing Activity:

This Weekly Volcanic Activity Report summary is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program.

Posted in Danakil Depression, Kīlauea, lava, shield volcano, Tungurahua | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »