Nearby earthquakes are opening up Africa’s ‘Gateway to Hell’ volcano
NASA satellite imagery has spotted new cracks opening up near Africa’s ‘Gateway to Hell’ – more officially known as the Erta Ale volcano in Ethiopia.
Scientists think nearby tectonic activity is causing large amounts of lava to spill out of the large, flat shield volcano, which features two lava lakes that have been bubbling and burning for decades.
It’s one of the most spectacular sights in the natural world – not that you’d want to get too close, with lava temperatures inside these cauldrons reaching as high as 1,100 degrees Celsius (2,012 degrees Fahreneheit).
According to eyewitness reports, the lava lake levels have risen significantly over the past few weeks, producing “massive overflows” and “intense spattering” on top of the new fissures captured by NASA’s satellites on the southeastern flank of the volcano, 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) from the summit.
The picture above was captured by NASA’s Operational Land Imager (OLI) camera sat on board the Landsat 8 satellite: it combines natural colour and shortwave infrared light signals to identify smoke plumes as well as areas of increased temperature that would normally be invisible to the naked eye.