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Volcanic eruption in Ethiopia – more MODIS 10 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Alu, Dalaffilla, eruptions, Ethiopia.
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The excellent French site Activolcans has two new despatches on the Ethiopian eruption of 3 November 2008.

The first report, from 8 November, notes the evidence of activity detected by MODIS in the vicinity of Alu volcano between 3 and 7 November: ‘a series of thermal anomalies aligned in a north-easterly direction. This suggests that the effusive activity was continuing at this time’. Activolcans has ‘without absolute certainty’ provisionally concluded that Alu rather than Dalaffilla has erupted, given the evidently basaltic, low-viscosity, effusive character of this eruption (Dalaffilla is a silicic stratovolcano, while Alu is a system of fissures with a recent history of extensive effusive activity). For more on this, see the comment from Activolcans on an earlier post here at TVB, and Ron Schott’s comment on this post at Eruptions.

A second report on 9 November notes a further large thermal anomaly oriented towards the north-east and 10-12km in length, and an ongoing eruption of SO2 in the vicinity of Alu volcano.

The MODIS data referred to by the Activolcans report can be seen below in images from the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology hotspots website.

NASA MODIS image for the Afar region, 7 November 2008 (Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology)
Above: MODIS image from 7 November 2008.

NASA MODIS image for the Afar region, 8 November 2008 (Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology)
Above: MODIS image from 8 November 2008.

NASA MODIS image for the Afar region, 9 November 2008 (Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology)
Above: MODIS image from 9 November 2008.

It still isn’t possible to be definitive about the origin of the eruption. This is a very complex setting, with fissures and subsidiary cones and vents scattered across and between the main volcanic features (some ASTER imagery of the area can be found in the NASA ASTER Volcano Archive), so the current activity may well be from neither Alu nor Dalaffilla, but from fissures in between. On balance, however, as Activolcans notes, it seems to originate more from the area of Alu, and to partake more of the eruptive character of Alu than that of Dalaffilla. But we’ll have to wait to see what further evidence comes in…

Viewing the Ethiopia category will bring up previous posts from The Volcanism Blog on this eruption.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Dalaffilla – information about Dalaffilla (0201-07=)
Global Volcanism Program: Alu – information about Alu (0201-06=)
Global Volcanism Program: volcanoes of Africa (northeastern) and the Red Sea – regional list of volcanoes from the Global Volcanism Program

The Volcanism Blog

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