Erta Ale is an active desert shield volcano that is located in Afar region, northeastern part of Ethiopia. It has an active lava lake that is said to be continuous for the past 80 years. The height of the volcano is approximately 2,011 feet and known as the longest existing lava lake in the world. There are 2 active lava lakes that occasionally overflow outside the volcano.
The origin of the volcano name “Erta Ale” literally means “Smoking Mountain” and is referred to as “gates of hell”.
A volcano with an existing lava lake is said to be very rare and unique. In fact, there are only five lava lakes in the whole world. Including Erta Ale the other volcanoes with lava lakes are Nyirarongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mount Erebus in Antarctica, Mount Villarica in Chile and Mount Kilauea in Hawaii.
At 2005, a team of BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) mapped the volcano by using three-dimensional laser techniques. It is a question to them of how people and animals survive in the hottest place on earth.
The rocks and minerals that you will find the hottest place on earth is of course, several volcanic minerals like basalt, there are also crystalline sulphur. Around the south pit of the volcano, the ground is said to be covered with Pélées Hair or glassy basalt. Gas eruptions are continuously releasing that make the rocks fall into the lava lake which makes mineral to be ejected because of its hot air circulation. While on the outside of the caldera rim, the volcano has several active fumaroles that emit gases like carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, hydrogen sulfide and other gases.
Several species were found in Erta Ale that is said to be a habitat like birds, mouse, bats, flies and dragonflies.