Off to collect samples of freshly erupted lava

Carrying equipment from the helicopter towards the new eruption site. Photograph by Talfan Barnie, University of Cambridge.

Beneficiaries of the Afar Rift Project

1. UK and international scientific community: All our results will be presented at international meetings and published in peer-reviewed international journals. At the end of the project, we will host an international meeting in Ethiopia.

2. Seismic and Volcanic Hazards: The proposed research has immediate impacts on understanding and mitigating natural hazards in Afar. To assess these hazards, share expertise, and provide advice to the national and regional governments, we will set up an informal Afar Geohazards Committee. The committee will write annual reports to the Afar government and the Ethiopian Ministry for Capacity Building assessing the present level of hazard. It will also organise the scientific response and be the point of contact in the event of further seismo-volcanic crises.

3. Capacity building: This project is possible because of a strong, two-way relationship with Addis Ababa Univerisity, developed through more than 25 years of collaboration and the rapid response to the Dabbahu seismo-volcanic crisis. We hope to strengthen this collaboration by supporting established Ethiopian scientists and PhD students (on sandwich programmes) for extended visits to the UK.

4. Fostering interdisciplinary research and international collaboration. The consortium involves researchers from many institutions across the world and uses techniques from different disciplines to address a common goal.

5. Training:
The project will provide training for UK and Ethiopian doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. Ethiopian scientists will be trained in the techniques used by the consortium.

6. Public engagement: The rifting episode in 2005 garnered considerable public interest, with articles appearing in a variety of UK and international media. Many articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers and members of the team have done a variety of radio and television interviews. The BBC and National Geographic filmed our work in Afar for inclusion in the major Earth Sciences documentary series Earth: a biography. We also had an exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibtion June/July 2010. For more information on this see the Afar Royal Society page.