The view from above
The following images from Earth orbit are used, instead of maps, to show major features referred to on other pages on Erta Ale. A simple sketch map here.
Erta Ale caldera from the Southeast. The active pit is the horizontal dark line in front of the steam plume.
Erta Ale's active pit and lava lake a seen from the approaching helicopter. The white steam plume comes from the North pit.
Aerial close-up of the lava lake. Note the crack along the pit's nearer rim.
The pit seen from the opposite direction as in the image on the left. The camp is above left.
Erta Ale summit region from the West. Note how lava flows have spilled through a narrow gap on the left of the steaming North pit.
Erta Ale summit region from the South.
Erta Ale summit region: North pit steaming on the left; active pit left of centre. One of our seismic stations was located at the bright patch on the lower right.
Lava has flowed from Erta Ale towards the lowlands in the South. Note colour differences between flows of different ages.
ASTER thermal-infrared composite image from NASA «Visible Earth» website (original image). The hot lava lake appears white, cold mountain tops dark).
Space shuttle astronaut photo from NASA «Earth from Space».
True-color MODIS image from 6.11.2001 from NASA «Visible Earth» website (original image). Red dots are forest fires (and Erta Ale!).
SeaWiFS true-color image 29.11.2000 on NASA «Visible Earth» website (original image); superimposed: Plate motion*..
|*Data on plate motion and East African rift valley spreading rate from: A. Walpersdorf, C. Vigny, J. Ruegg, P. Huchon, L. M. Asfaw, and
S. Al Kirbash: 5 Years of GPS Observations in the Afar Triple Junction
Area (Postscript file to download); and Roger Bilham, University of Colorado, Earthquakes
and tectonic plate motions => Ethiopia.|
Zoom in from outer space! MODIS and SeaWiFS space images and aerial photos were combine to generate this virtual descent from outer space to Erta Ale: QuickTime object (1.5Mb; drag mouse horizontally to zoom).