USGS/ Eritrean Study of Alid Volcanic Center,

Danakil Depression, Eritrea, northeast Africa

1. Small scale map of Eritrea and Alid with inset of Africa.

The Alid Team:
USGS: Field Party: Michael A. Clynne, Wendell A. Duffield, Robert O. Fournier, Jacob B. Lowenstern, James G. Smith
Other USGS participants: Thomas Bullen, Anne E. Gartner, Cathy J. Janik, Marvin Lanphere, Susan Priest
Eritrea Division of Energy and Mines Gabreab Kahsai, Theoderos Tesfai, Leake Woldegiorgis, Kidane Weledemariam.

In 1996, five geologists from the USGS and five geologists from the Eritrean Ministry of Energy and Mining collaborated on a study of the Alid volcanic center, in the northeast African country of Eritrea.

Eritrea became an independent nation in 1993, after a state-wide referendum. The country is relatively undeveloped, and additonal energy resources are needed to facilitate growth of industry and tourism.

The purpose of this project was to produce a geothermal resource assessment based on mapping of the geology and study of the fumarolic emissions from the Alid volcanic center. We believe that future exploration is warranted and that Alid is a viable geothermal prospect.

This work was funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with additional support from the USGS Volcano Hazards Program and its geothermal component, and the Eritrean Ministry for Energy, Mines and Water Resources (EMEMWR). We appreciate logistical support by Glenn Anders (USAID) and Teklehaimanot Debretsion (EMEMWR).

The following materials are available for perusal on this web site:

  • Short summary of project.
  • Executive Summary of USGS Open File Report 97-291.
  • 8 page article in PDF format on the geochemistry of thermal fluids and surface waters from Alid and the surrounding region.
  • 40+ page article in PDF format that translates the 1938 article by Marini on an Italian geographic expedition to the region in 1901-02. This is now published as USGS Open File Report 98-218.
  • Abstracts on origin of granophyre at Alid volcanic center (or photos of granophyre).
  • Photos of the Alid volcanic center.
  • Maps and cross-sections of Alid.
  • References to useful articles about Alid.

All work described herein was collaborative in nature and involved participation by all team members. For more information, please contact: Jake Lowenstern (

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