The Anabro (Nabro) volcano in the Northern Red Sea Region of Eritrea in Africa has erupted sending an ash plume more than 13.5 kilometres into the sky.
Part of the Afar Triangle, the stratovolcano is one of many volcanic caldera complexes in the north easternmost part of the East African Rift valley region. It is located in the Danakil Depression, close to Eritrea’s border with Ethiopia and north of Djibouti, and has not erupted in at least 150 years.
The volcano erupted at 2103 GMT Sunday evening. The Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) said Monday that the 5,331 ft volcano has resulted in a large ash plume of up to 13.5 kilometres (8 miles) high. The scale of the eruption, compared to the ongoing eruption in Chile and 2010′s eruption at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland, remains unclear.
The eruption was preceded by seven moderate earthquakes yesterday afternoon. A 5.6 magnitude quake at 21.03 GMT signalled the start of the eruption. The quake was centred 48 km south of the town of Edd (pop 11,259) and 199 km southwest of the city of Al-h’udaydah (pop 617,871). A 4.6 magnitude quake followed less than 35 minutes later.
On Monday afternoon officials in Ethiopia warned citizens to protect themselves from the ash and smoke coming from the volcanic eruption. Asamara, the capital city of Eritrea, is alo said to be affected by ash from the erupting volcano.
Meanwhile, the latest ash advisory issued by the VAAC (see below) is predicting that the Ash plume will spread towards the Middle East Monday night. By 6am Tuesday the ash plume is expected to be present in the skies over parts of Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Israel, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) said it remained unclear if the series of earthquakes and the eruption were related were related as both originate from the same continental rift zone. A USGS spokesperson told BNO News added: “This thing also tends to generate volcanic activity, given the fact that since you are opening the Earth’s crust, a lot of the magma that is underneath the Earth’s crust does actually have access to the surface…That process itself, the volcanism and the earthquakes, are related to the same rift zone.”
The ash cloud from the volcano could potentially cause some disruption to air traffic in the region. According to Irish Weather Online senior forecaster Peter O’Donnell, the ash cloud is heading west towards Sudan. “The eruption happened in Nabro, a stratovolcano that has not erupted in historic times. Some early reports mention Dubbi or Dubbo to the north but satellite imagery confirms the source as Nabro. Potentially, there could be impacts on visibility and optics over at least parts of southern Europe, east and west Africa, and the Middle East … but there would be no direct impacts on Ireland from present information.”
EARTHQUAKE DATA FROM THE REGION (Live quake monitor)
M 4.5 2011/06/12 21:37 Depth 15.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 5.7 2011/06/12 21:03 Depth 9.9 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 5.7 2011/06/12 20:32 Depth 10.1 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.8 2011/06/12 19:44 Depth 9.9 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.7 2011/06/12 19:37 Depth 10.1 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.5 2011/06/12 18:01 Depth 10.1 km ETHIOPIA
M 5.0 2011/06/12 19:21 Depth 10.0 km ETHIOPIA
M 4.7 2011/06/12 17:47:21 13.538 41.588 Depth 10.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.8 2011/06/12 17:18:10 13.381 41.764 Depth 9.9 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.3 2011/06/12 16:33:12 13.507 41.722 Depth 10.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.8 2011/06/12 16:24:44 13.436 41.682 Depth 10.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.7 2011/06/12 16:12:03 13.397 41.734 Depth 10.0 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
M 4.5 2011/06/12 16:09:30 13.443 41.696 Depth 2.9 km ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
The largest known historical eruption in Africa occurred on May 1861 when the Dubbi volcano, also located in Eritrea, showered maritime traffic in the Red Sea with pumice and plunged coastal settlements into darkness.
Live satellite view of volcano and ash plume from Sat24.
Modis images of earth from space
Visual Guide To The Eruption