The active lava lake in the pit South Crater of Ethiopian volcano Erta Ale,   30-40 meters (100-130 feet) in diameter, is still very active and is approaching levels close to the overflow at the edges, being only a few meters below the floor of the caldera, reports Volcano Discovery. The Erta Ale, known in the local Afar language as « smoking mountain » and « the gates of hell » is a basaltic shield volcano, permanently active in the desert region of Afar, in northern Ethiopia. It focuses on the system of the East African Rift. The volcano has a predominantly mafic material (silicate mineral or rock rich in magnesium and iron) which was brought to the surface due to the lack of coverage of the mantle due to the formation of the rift.


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Many know about Erta Ale, the surrounding land is among the most inhospitable of the planet and indigenous peoples Afar have a legendary reputation for their cruelty towards foreigners.
The Erta Ale has experienced a major eruption on Sept. 25, 2005, which killed 250 head of cattle and forced thousands of nearby residents to flee. He also issued a lava flow in August 2007, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people and leaving two missing persons.

Scientists of the Consortium Afar project had observed the lava lake between 21 and November 23, 2010 and had noticed a strombolian activity. The lava lake had filled the pit crater and crumbling edge in the West, spilling two lava flows in the main crater. The lava lake was surrounded by a ring of scoriae who was about 4 m (13 feet) high on the south side.

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Photo : Frederico Martinez