Preparations for Erta Ale and Dallol volcano expedition 2008

Update March 2008 : travel report can be found here

February 2008 a new volcano adventure begins: an expedition to the Ethiopian Erta Ale volcano and the Dallol hot springs area. These are one of the remotest active volcanioc complexes in the world. They are hard to reach, and the local Afar people are not known for their hospitality.

Erta Ale volcao map


    Patrick Koster         - PaKosPhotography
    Richard Roscoe       - Photo Volcanica
    Thorsten Boeckel     - From Etna to Stromboli
    Martin Rietze           - ALPE - Alien Landscapes on Planet Earth
    Rainer Albiez           - Rainer Albiez Vulkane
    Marc Szeglat           - Marc Szeglat Videoproduktionen

Erta Ale volcano

I hope for a very active Erta Ale lava lake after traveling under dessert like conditions with jeeps, camels guides and armed guards. The pictuire below is what I expect to find : a boiling lava pit, extreme temperatures, volcanic toxis gasses and glowing lava fountains.

Erta Ale volcano crater pit with lava lake

Volcano photography: not a very simple thing

Photographing Erta Ale can be difficult. Goals is to get to the edge of the pit in the best physical shape possible. That means vacinations, building some general knowlegde about Ethiopia, and a regular visits to the gym. Plan is to bring a big bag filled with the nessecary photo gear. Two digital SLR bodies, three lenses, four memory cards, flahs, remote shutter, tripod with ball head, and enough spare batteries. And also two image tanks with batteries, solar charger, sat phone and a first aid kit. And do not forget helmet, gas mask and head light and other regular hiking gear. And hoping for Mother Nature to show off her best so I come home in one piece with some unique images.


Worldwide volcanoes are monitores with satellites. Erta Ale is monitored since 1999 bekeken with MODIS sensors (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) on board two NASA EOS (Earth Observing System) satellites named "Terra" and "Aqua". With infrared sensors blocks of 1 by 1 km are scanned and analysed by a system of the HIGP (Hawaii Institute of Geophysics & Planetology). Results are published on the HOTSPOTS web site of the HIGP.

See the hot spots for yourself

Below is Erta Ale data from 18 - 25 January 2008 with some hot spots. It is fun you have an almost real time view of Erta Ale. Choose MODVOLC hot spots page, use button "Go To Target Area", and choose Erta Ale. Zoom in by choosing ".1 x .1"

Erta Ale volcano MODVOLC infrared satellite monitoring of volcanic hot spots


For an impression of other expeditions to Erta Ale :
    Stromboli Online
    Storm Chaser
    Rainer Albiez- Ethiopie
    Le volcan Erta Ale