Etra Ale Volcano Lava Lake

Photo credit: The Daily Mail

Erta Ale is basically a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia, situated in the Afar Depression, a badland desert area spanning the border with Eritrea. It’s noted for holding the longest-existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century, since 1906. Erta Ale means “smoking mountain” in the local Afar language and its southernmost pit is known locally as “the gateway to Hell”. Continue reading for a two-part video series on the volcano, and more information.

Not much is known about Erta Ale, as the surrounding terrain is some of the most inhospitable on Earth and the native Afar people have a legendary reputation for viciousness towards outsiders; one travel guide recommends hiring “one or maybe two armed guards or police” to visit Erta Ale.