A Nabro volcano erupted in Eritrea on Sunday, June 12 mid-night local Time. Though it coincided with the earthquake that took place at about the same time in the area, it is clear yet if it is the cause of the eruption.
A seismologist at the United States Geological Survey, , said it is not known yet ‘if the earthquakes were related to the volcano since both originate from the same continental rift zone,’ according to BNO news. He noted further:
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," the seismologist said earlier. "That process itself, the volcanism and the earthquakes, are related to the same rift zone.
AFP had reported on Monday:
The eruption of the Dubbi volcano sent a plume of ash up to 15 kilometres into the air, the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre said, disrupting air traffic in Eritrea and neighbouring Ethiopia, and threatening further disruptions in the region.
The eruption, which began at 2100 GMT on Sunday and was continuing late Monday, was "significant" according to Jean Nicolau of French weather service Meteo-France, which houses the VAAC’s operations for southern Europe and Africa.
"Based on satellite images we are seeing, the volcanic ash is reaching altitudes of 13 to 15 kilometres" (42,650 to 49,200 feet),
However, earth observatory center of NASA later stated that the eruption is at Nabro which has ‘no historical reports of eruptions at Nabro before today’. The NASA brief reads:
Nabro, a stratovolcano in the northeast African nation of Eritrea, rumbled to life late in the evening on June 12, 2011, following a series of earthquakes. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite captured this natural-color image the next day.
Initial reports from news agencies and the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center in Toulouse, France, proclaimed the eruption to be occurring at Dubbi, a volcano further south. But later reports from volcanologists, field scientists, and the satellite image above appear to confirm the eruption at Nabro. There are no historical reports of eruptions at Nabro before today.
The volcano is part of a larger complex with several nested calderas nearby. It is part of the East African Rift, where the African continent is slowly pulling apart due to tectonic plate movements.
In a related development, Eritrean government issued the following statement:
Assab, 13 June 2011 -A volcanic eruption was witnessed in the tip of the Southern Red Sea region at 9 p.m. yesterday.
Reports indicated that the eruption that took place in 4 different areas around Afambo, Nebro and Sireru causing a 5.7 rector scale earth tremor.
The ensuing dust is covering hundreds of kilometers in the area, and that the quake has been heard in the greater portion of the region as a whole, according to reports.
The Southern regional Administration disclosed that the Government has moved the inhabitants in the area to a safe place, in addition to providing them with the necessary care. No damage has so far been inflicted to human life , the Administration added.
Although similar earthquake incidents were witnessed from time to time in previous years, yesterday’s tremor was of higher scale that led to volcanic eruption.
The 2218-m-high Nabro stratovolcano is the highest volcano in the Danakil depression of northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. Located at the SE end of the Danakil Alps, Nabro lies in the Danakil horst. Nabro is the most prominent and NE-most of three volcanoes with large summit calderas aligned in a NE-SW direction SW of Dubbi volcano. These three volcanoes, along with Sork Ale volcano, collectively comprise the Bidu volcanic complex. The complex Nabro stratovolcano is truncated by nested calderas, 8 and 5 km in diameter. The larger caldera is widely breached to the SW. Nabro was constructed primarily of trachytic lava flows and pyroclastics. Post-caldera rhyolitic obsidian domes and basaltic lava flows were erupted inside the caldera and on its flanks. Some very recent lava flows were erupted from NNW-trending fissures transverse to the trend of the Nabro volcanic range.
Here is the a satellite image from NASA