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- The lava lake in Erta Ale volcano: impressions from the Danakil expedition Jan/Feb. 2008 -

The lava lake of Erta Ale volcano, Ethiopia

The northern pit crater of Erta Ale shield volcano, Danakil desert (Ethiopia), contains a lake of molten lava, about 75 m across. On an expedition organized by VolcanoDiscovery, we stayed on Erta Ale.

Many more photos from Erta Ale as well as other places (incl. Dallol volcano) visited during the expedition can be found at: http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/volcano-tours/ertaale/photos/

The pit crater and lava lake at sunset. The lava lake, which has overflooded the lower terrace, at sunrise. Members of our expedition observing the lava lake at night. From time to time, large gas bubbles explode at the NW margin of the lake, disrupting its thin crust.
Occasionally, magmatic gas is released in the middle of the lake, creating violent fountains, lasting about 1 minute, and a few meters in diameter. On the close-up photos, thin threads of lava can be seen (Pele's Hair).
Gas bubble erupting at the lakeshore. Frank photographing the lava lake. Lava glow in twilight. Observers on the crater rim.

Lava fountains on the lake. Night-time observer and the bright moon.
Strange egg-like sulphate structures cover an area of wet fumaroles on the crater rim of the North crater. Lava fountains at night.
Looking across a young field of pahoehoe lava. To the left, the yellow walls of the caldera, in the background, another caldera and another shield volcano are seen. Folds in the crust of the lava lake. Incandescent lava between plates on the crust of the lava lake. Beautiful lava fountain.