Observations from Alalobeda Hot Springs, Tendaho, Ethiopia

First Pictures following a Phreatic Eruption Event in 2012

Geologists working for Stratex East Africa at the Megenta epithermal gold prospect in Tendaho have been visiting the hot springs at Alalobeda over the last three years. The hot springs are located approximately 10km south-southeast of the town of Logia. Numerous visits were made to the active geyser which erupted hot water and steam to a height of around 3m and occasionally higher. The eruptions occurred approximately once every one to three minutes. Three geologists from the company were working at Megenta in July 2012 and during a break on the 21st of July they went to see the springs. The sight was unfamiliar as the active geyser was no longer present.

photo: 15 oct 2011 (before freatic eruption)

The geyser which erupted from a small pool (c. 10m diameter) is known to have been active since 1971. Eruption material was not noticed on the horizontal sinters previously and it is possible that the geyser had been active for a few decades prior to the 1970’s. What was found on the 21st of July 2012 was a much larger pool with maximum dimension of >50m surrounded by large blocks of sinter material scattered around the area. The water was not boiling in the pool and only a small amount of small bubbles were rising through the water. The blocks of sinter or travertine are up to 1m across and are scattered up to 50m from the vent. The evidence indicates a powerful phreatic eruption occurred at Alalobeda.

The phreatic eruption occurred sometime in the first six months of 2012. Locals reported some seismic activity in the region in June 2012 but it is not known if the events were related in any way. The pictures below show the hot springs before the event (visited in October 2012) and after the event when visited in July 2012.

Aiden Lavelle
Stratex Djibuti


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