In September 2014, the Natural Environment Research Council will launch a major five-year programme to study the volcanoes of Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley. The project team contains core investigators from seven UK institutions and several international partners, as well as a network of local collaborators including Addis Ababa University and the Geological Survey of Ethiopia. The main goals of project RiftVolc are to establish the eruption history, understand the current activity, and assess the potential threat of an eruption.
The volcanoes we will be studying also have enormous potential for geothermal energy. Ethiopia aims to increase its geothermal output by 300 times by 2030. Much of this will be from power plants at two of volcanoes – Alutu and Corbetti – partly as a result of a US$4 billion investment by Reykjavik Geothermal. So, we will also be working with the international geothermal industry to enable them to develop this resource safely and efficiently.