Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Volcano of the Week #13 - Erta Ale

As some people would rather do work than play Ghettopoly (which is a ghetto version of monopoly) my evening's entertainment consisted of asking my housemate Spam/Lewis to choose the volcano of the week from my volcano book. The result was Ethiopia's most active volcano Erta Ale which is a 613m height shield volcano on the border with Eritrea. Erta Ale means smoking mountain- I really wish people would name volcanoes more imaginatively, it would certainly make volcano or nocano more fun. Although one pit of Erta Ale is known as the gateway to hell, which is nicer. Erta Ale is located in the Afar Depression which contains the lowest point in Africa- 155 meters below sea level, the land surrounding the volcano is all below sea level.

 Looks a bit like Piton de la Fournaise

The most remarkable feature of Erta Ale is probably its lava lake which at 90 years is thought to be the oldest (and one of the only) in the world. One of the only other volcanoes with lava lakes is last "weeks" volcano- Mount Erebus which must be truly stunning in the frozen landscape. A lava lake is pretty much what it sounds; a crater filled with hot bubbling lava covered by a thin black crust so kinda like cooking porridge, polenta or old soup. It is when cracks in this skin appear that we see the volcanoes beauty when lava spurts and fissures form. Erta Ale's tends to have fairly non-explosive eruptions, VEI around 2- but it is none the less a beautiful spectacle. The lava lake the cover image for Earth on Fire and has some of the books best images- which is why is this weeks volcano of the week and I believe it's my first Africano. 
Best book ever!


  1. Don't get dragged into that spam/lewis debate now that you are living in the house guss - he will be spam for ever, lets keep it that way...

    I really enjoyed your description of a lava lake and it reminded me of a boards of canada song.

    My fave type of volcano is ones with a low lava viscosity, as you know, these create gentle sloped volcanoes, which are frequently erupting, like those in Hawaii. That's why I have chosen Mauna Loa as my favourite volcano. One day I'd like to go and visit it. :)

  2. No I know he most definitely is Spam in all senses of the word. But weirdly some people don't think it's a name so I just wanted to prove that I do have friends.

    Fanks Lukey, I'm listening to it now, it's ace (you know how much I love everything Canadian)

    See I find Hawaiian volcanoes a bit dull, I way prefer that have plinian or strombolian eruptions. Although Hawaiian ones are still beautiful. One day I would like to go and visit all the volcanoes.

    I miss you and I'm in your bed...

  3. I know what you mean, they're eruptions are not as violent and spectacular as with other volcanoes. But what I like about the Hawaiian eruptions is that its kinda like the eruptions are constructive because they are constantly creating new islands, new land.

    I like the idea that the Earth is always regenerating itself and giving birth to new life. Like you know when Darwin did his voyages in the galapagos islands, he found that the volcanic islands were crawling with new species of animals and plants that you don't find anywhere else. I like the idea that something as fiery and destructive as a volcanic eruption can help to create such great vitality and new life.

    Visiting all the volcanoes will take you a long time and will dramatically increase the chances of you falling into one. So be careful.

    Ye I'm in my bed too. That's weird. But not as wierd as me watching spam sleep.

  4. Yes that's true I love the volcanic islands and even the fact that the volcanoes themselves are constantly changing and creating new vents and craters. Also due to Kilauea's recent activity I feel I may have to change my stance on Hawaiian volcanoes. Will post about this later.

    Aww that is really nice. But I also like the fact that volcanoes are so strong and powerful and humans have absolutely no effect on them. It shows our insignificance in respect to nature, which I find weirdly comforting. All shit that humanity produces could just be wiped out by a supervolcano, like a massive fuck you for destroying the planet.

    But falling into a volcano, what a way to go!

    I wanna join in on your watching Spam sleep sessions. We missed you at the cuts protest on Sat.