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MODIS true colour imagery of the Ethiopian eruption 7 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Alu, Dalaffilla, eruptions, Ethiopia.
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MODIS true colour imagery of the Ethiopian eruption from NASA’s Terra satellite can be found at this link. Click on the links within the page for enlargements.

2008/309 - 04 Nov 0735 UTC - volcanic eruption in Ethiopia (NASA Terra MODIS image)

Above, NASA Terra MODIS true colour imagery of volcanic eruption in Ethiopia, 4 November 2008 (1km per pixel). Red area marks the thermal anomaly. Below, detail showing a close-up of the area of the eruption (250m per pixel).

2008/309 - 04 Nov 0735 UTC - volcanic eruption in Ethiopia (NASA Terra MODIS image). Detail view.

The question now is whether we are looking at Alu or Dalaffilla in eruption, or some fissure in between? The Global Volcanism Program has the following summary on its main page, reflecting the inconclusive nature of the current evidence:

An eruption of a volcano N of Erta Ale in Ethiopia’s Afar region began on 3 November. Satellite imagery showed a large sulfur dioxide cloud that drifted E over the Arabian Peninsula. Extensive thermal anomalies near Alu and Dalaffilla volcanoes were also detected presumably indicating lava flows. According to news articles, observers reported ground shaking, hearing loud noises and explosions from a distance, and seeing smoke. Thermal anomalies continued to be detected during 3-6 November.

We are promised ASTER imagery from NASA within the next few days, which may help to clear the matter up.

Thanks to Robert Simmons of NASA for information received.

The Volcanism Blog

MODIS images of the Ethiopian eruption 7 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Dalaffilla, eruptions, Ethiopia.
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[This is an image-heavy post, so most of it is under the cut. Click on ‘more’ below, or on the title above, to view the whole thing.]

Except for Figure 1, the images below come from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) carried aboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. The Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) at the University of Hawaii has developed an automatic system that uses the infrared satellite imagery from MODIS to plot thermal anomalies in near real-time, and publishes the results on its hotspots website. The detection of thermal anomalies – hotspots – is of course one of the fundamental tools of volcano monitoring. Starting at the HIGP’s main global thermal alerts page, you can click on the part of the globe you are interested in (or select regions from a drop-down menu, or enter latitude and longitude directly) and zoom in progressively to acquire more detailed views. This post features MODIS images of the recent eruption in north-eastern Ethiopia generated by the HIGP system.

The first map below is an overview of volcanoes the Afar region of north-eastern Ethiopia (as registered by the Global Volcanism Program) from Google Earth, for reference. Below are screen captures from the Hawaii thermal alerts website, showing MODIS data for this region during the period 2-6 November 2008. This data shows the development of the hotspot associated with the eruption of 3 November, and would seem to support the contention that Dalaffilla is the volcano responsible. (Click on ‘more’ to see the MODIS images, which are under the cut.)

Figure 1. Volcanoes of the Afar region of north-eastern Ethiopia (Google Earth)
Figure 1. Volcanoes of north-eastern Ethiopia, created using Google Earth with the ‘volcanoes’ layer enabled. This layer integrates information from the Global Volcanism Program.

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Ethiopian eruption update 6 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Dalaffilla, Erta Ale, eruptions, Ethiopia.
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Just time to note that a new report from Bloomberg quotes an Addis Ababa University researcher as saying that the volcano responsible for Monday’s eruption was Dalla Filla (which the Global Volcanism Program calls Dalaffilla, so that’s the version of the name we will use here).

Also Erik Klemetti has two very useful and up-to-the-minute posts on the Ethiopian eruption at his highly-recommended Eruptions blog: ‘CORRECTED: Erta Ale(?) erupts … and more’, and the more recent ‘More details on the Ethiopian eruption’. Check the comments as well as the posts themselves.

There’ll be more on this intriguing Ethiopian event here later…

The Volcanism Blog

Eruption in Ethiopia – Erta Ale, or not? 6 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Africa, Erta Ale, eruptions, Ethiopia.
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The identification of Monday’s eruption in Ethiopia with Erta Ale may have been erroneous. An update on the eruption from Dr Simon Carn of Michigan Technological University via the VOLCANO listserv is circumspect:

Satellite instruments detected an eruption in northern Afar, Ethiopia on November 3. The eruption first manifested itself as a large sulfur dioxide (SO2) cloud drifting eastwards over the Arabian peninsula, detected by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS). MODIS data from the University of Hawaii’s MODVOLC hot-spot monitoring tool (http://modis.higp.hawaii.edu) confirmed an extensive hot-spot (presumably lava flows) near Alu volcano, in the northern part of the Erta ‘Ale range. Details are still sketchy and these observations are as yet unconfirmed from the ground.

Ethiopian news sources are also rather round-about in identifying the location of the eruption. The official Ethiopian News Agency describes the eruption as occurring ‘at Ertale volcanic area of Afar State, north-east Ethiopia’, while the EthioBlog also speaks of ‘a volcanic explosion in Ethiopia’s remote north-eastern Afar region’.

Wherever the plume came from, it was indeed extensive. The image of the plume below from 5 November, put together from data gathered by the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite, is from the NOAA’s currently experimental site displaying near real-time 24hr composite OMI SO2 information (thanks to Nickolay Krotkov for this link). The plume stretches across the Arabian Peninsula, the Gulf, and across Pakistan and northern India. The more red, the higher the concentration of sulphur dioxide.

SO2 plume

The Activolcans report on the eruption settles for Alu, on the basis of the SO2 monitoring information from OMI and the hotspot report from the University of Hawaii. More on this eruption as news comes in. Erik Klemetti also has detailed coverage at the Eruptions blog.

News
Volcano erupts in Ertale volcanic area of Afar Region – Ethiopia News Agency, 4 November 2008
Ethiopia volcano sets lava record – EthioBlog, 6 November 2008

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Erta Ale – information about Erta Ale (0201-08=)
Geophysical Observatory – Institute of Geophysics, Space Sciences and Astronomy at Addis Ababa University
L’Erta Alé, volcan actif dans le Danakil – a French page with many pictures of Erta Ale from an expedition to the volcano which took place in November 2006

The Volcanism Blog

Erta Ale eruption reported 5 November 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, Erta Ale, eruptions, Ethiopia.
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Erta Ale, January 2007 (image by Flickr user filippo_jean, licensed under Creative Commons)

Erta Ale, Ethiopia’s most active volcano and one of the most active in Africa, has been busy with its current low-intensity eruptive phase since around 1967. A basaltic shield volcano, Erta Ale is well known for its remoteness, forbidding environment, and long-lasting lava lake (pictured above). A report today from the African Press Agency, quoting the Institute of Geophysics, Space Sciences and Astronomy at Addis Ababa University, says that a significant eruption took place late yesterday without ‘human or material damage’, but details are scarce. There is a fuller report at the South African business news site Moneybiz (also at the Independent Online) which talks of a 300 sq km lava flow and quotes expert opinion that the eruptions of Erta Ale are due to ‘the expansion of tectonic plates under the Great Rift Valley’. Hmm.

In August 2007 an eruption of Erta Ale caused some fatalities and forced local evacuations. UPDATE: Boris Behncke notes (see comments on this post, below) that this 2007 eruption was not at Erta Ale but at Manda Hararo volcano some distance to the south.

Image: lava lake at Erta Ale volcano, January 2007. Credit: Flickr user filippo_jean. Re-used here under a Creative Commons licence. [source]

News
Afar in Ethiopia rocked by volcano – African Press Agency, 5 November 2008
Record volcanic eruption in Ethiopia – Moneybiz, 5 November 2008
Volcano erupts in Ethiopia – Independent Online, 5 November 2008
Ethiopia volcano sets lava record – BBC News, 5 November 2008

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Erta Ale – information about Erta Ale (0201-08=)
Geophysical Observatory – Institute of Geophysics, Space Sciences and Astronomy at Addis Ababa University
L’Erta Alé, volcan actif dans le Danakil – a French page with many pictures of Erta Ale from an expedition to the volcano which took place in November 2006

The Volcanism Blog