Tuesday, December 8, 2009

From March 18 to 31, 2003, a team of fourteen scientists(*) set up geophysical instruments around the Ethiopian volcano Erta Ale, located in the Danakil rift, where a chain of volcanoes has formed over millions of years. The scientists took samples of gases and lava. This is the first time since 1974 that a French scientific mission financed by the CNRS has been able to return to study this region of the Afar triangle. Erta Ale is an exceptional volcano in more ways than one. It is one of three volcanoes in the world that has had a continuously active lava lake, probably since at least 1873. In addition, Erta Ale is part of a chain of active volcanoes located in the center of one of the six Afar rifts where an open ocean has formed in connection with a hot spot (inner Earth volcanism). The mission was organized in the framework of the "The Earth's Interior" Program and the "National program for major natural risks" of the CNRS National Institute for Sciences of the Universe. It was organized by laboratories belonging to the "Institut de physique du globe" in Paris (IPGP), in association with the CNRS, with the logistic support of Géo-découverte.

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