Videos: Trekking to the Erta Ale Volcano, Ethiopia


Erta Ale is a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia. It is situated in the Afar Depression, a badland desert area. Erta Ale is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. What makes this volcano so extremely rare is Lava Lake hidden in the crater in the centre of volcano caldera. Erta Ale is an important place for any trekking in Ethiopia. Adventure travelers and trekkers will discover the spectacular Lava Lake.


Erta Ale is 613 m high, with one or sometimes two active lava lakes at the summit which occasionally overflow on the south side of the volcano. 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 eight in the world.

Erta Ale means "smoking mountain" in the local Afar language and its southernmost pit is known locally as "the gateway to Hell". 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.


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