The Erta Ale range is the main volcanic unit in the Danakil rift. It is located along the axis of the northern part of the Depression, in a zone clearly related to the Red Sea rift. The detailed study of the tectonics, volcanism and petrographic succession of the whole range allows one to draw the following conclusions.1)
A compl3te, tectonically controlled evolution is observed in the subaerial volcanism from simple fissure activity, to small shield volcanoes built along open fissures, and to more complex central volcanoes. The emitted products form a complete differentiation series from basalts to rhyolites, with a remarkably regular volume decrease from basic to silicic terms.
The close relationships existing between petrological and volcanological evolution suggest that the magma fractionation has been realized at relatively shallow depth, at the emplacement level of magmatic reservoirs. The importance of a time factor in the differentiation processes in volcanic conditions is clearly stressed.
All collected data strongly support the subcrustal origin of the whole volcanic series and the hypothesis of crustal separation with formation of new oceanic crust along the axis of the Northern Danakil Depression.