21 April 2017 Preliminary Report on the status of Erta Ale behavior from April 11 – 15 April 2017.
Teams and visitor were traveling to Erta Ale from April 11 – 15 April, 2017 for observation and identifying the area of visit for the coming season.
With collaboration with Addis Abeba University, we have prepared a kind of format which can be used both by the professional Geologist and layman who has traveled to volcanoes frequently (Like Local Guides around Afar Region).
I received the raw data and interviewed them for 2 hours to have the overall picture of the present status of the whole activity around Erta Ale and the new fissure eruption which has been started on 22 Jan 2017.
Accordingly I found out and produced the following preliminary report:
The group has observed substantial changes compared to conditions described in the past report and activity in February/March 2017.
The old southern Lava Lake surface has begin to be observed and sat 50 m below the North crater rim and 40m below the east crater rim. On top of the crust stood two coalesced hornitos in the NE part of the southern crater. The hornitos estimated to be 7m high and emitted high temperature and pressure so2 – rich gas and momentarily contained/emitted glowing molten lava.
The Old Lava Lake has chilled within 200m diameter in nearly circular in shape and the level of the Lava Lake would change every 30 Minutes as there is frequent collapse of the surface and then again Lava tubes from the wall of the crater feed and fill the crater with rapidly fresh flow of molten lava.
The group has also observed continues fountain of Lava from the surface of the Lava Crust about 25m high.
The surrounding surface around the rim/mouth of the crater seems to be solidified very well and people can now walk around the rim and able to observe the activities in the old southern Crater Lake .That is great news and I am very much enthusiastic to witness this.
The North pit is still the strong and noisy degassing of so2 spouted from several small hornitos grown in the central part of the solidified crust.The new recently fissure eruption that has undergone in 22 Jan 2017 was no development of substantial lava overflow or fountaining. Instead the level of the Lava Lake went down about 10m from the rim and only a small fountaining occurred during the night time which rises up to 3m to the rim level.Still it is impossible to approach the new fissure (Lava Lake) eruption from a near distance and you can make the observation only from ~700m distance in the Northern part of the caldera.So to conclude the status of Erta Ale, this days the old southern Lava Lake has started to rise up to the solidified walls of the widened crater and the level is changing now and then frequently.I am trying to send the updated picture of the recent status in the old southern Lava Lake and hope you will get it soon.