Erta Ale

Lava fountains 2008

Lava fountains 2008
During breaks in the spattering activity at the hornito, gas is exhaled from the lake surface causing lava fountains.
Lava fountains 2008
Fountaining usually lasts about two minutes. It breaks and lifts the shiny, partially solidified lava crust.
Lava fountains 2008
Sometimes the gas explodes more violently. Then incandescent lava clots are ejected, looking like an expanding bubble.
Lava fountains 2008
The fountains travel across the lake in the same direction as the convective motion of the folded curst (top right).
Lava fountains 2008
Very hot lava continues to rise from the deep magmatic centre of the lake.
Lava fountains 2008
Standing only 70 meters above the agitated lake, we sometimes feel very close indeed to all the action!
Lava fountains 2008
Highly fluid lava is extended into Pele's hair (barely visible below the centre of the photo).
Lava fountains 2008
Lava clots at least one metre in diameter; note incandescent Pele's hair.
Lava fountains 2008
Pele's hair cools quickly and appears darker than the bright lava behind it.
Lava fountains 2008
Bright sunlight reflects on the shiny crust, making it even brighter than the fluid lava.
Lava fountains 2008
The sun shines on this lava fountain, creating a beautiful contrast to the shadow further back.
Lava fountains 2008
Perfect illumination is more important than size, even for lava bubbles, when it comes to making a good impression...
Photos by Marco Fulle, taken from a distance of 70 meters with 135mm and 500mm lenses and digital single lens reflex camera (equivalent focal lenghts of 200mm and 750mm on 24x36 film).