Erta Ale Location: 13.60 N, 40.67 E Elevation: 613 m Erta Ale  is a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar  Region of northeastern Ethiopia, the most active volcano in  Ethiopia. It is in the Afar Depression, a badland desert area  spanning the border with Eritrea, and the volcano itself is  surrounded completely by an area below sea level, making it a  relatively low-elevation volcano. The 613-m-high volcano  contains  a 0.7 x 1.6 km elliptical summit crater with several steep-sided pit  craters, one of them containing a lava lake. Another larger 1.8 x 3.1  km wide depression, elongated parallel to the trend of the Erta Ale  range is located to the SE of the summit and is bounded by  curvilinear fault scarps on the SE side. Fresh-looking basaltic lava  flows from these fissures have poured into the caldera and locally  overflowed its rim. The summit caldera is renowned for one, or  sometimes two long-term lava lakes that have been active since at  least 1967, or possibly since 1906. Recent fissure eruptions have  occurred on the northern flank of Erta Ale.  Volcanoes with lava  lakes are very rare: there are only four 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 that is 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 the formation of  the pull-apart basin. Not much is known about  Erta Ale, as the surrounding terrain is some of  the most inhospitable on Earth and the native  Afar people have a legendary reputation for  viciousness towards outsiders. On January 16,  2012, a group of German, Austrian and  Hungarian scientists/tourists was attacked at Erta Ale. Five scientists/tourists were killed, some  taken as hostages and others wounded. The Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front  claimed  responsibility for the attack and released the two kidnapped tourists in March 2012. Google earth Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar click on Pictures to enlarge 28.-30. Jan. 2008 Video: Tommy Rodner HOME Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar Photo: Rolf Cosar