By Shannon Lane @shannonroselane

IN A SCENE resembling the depths of hell, a surge of magma escapes volcano Erta Ale in Ethiopia resulting in a dramatic flood of lava

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Videographer / director: Paul Reichert
Producer: Shannon Lane, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Ian Phillips, Marcus Cooper

The volcano sits on three unstable tectonic plates

This incredibly rare moment was a result of the tectonic plates in the area rifting apart - and was great timing for the Volcano Discovery tour group.

The tour group were lucky enough to witness such a dramatic event

The tour group were led across the volcano by an experienced geologist in January 2017, and all wore gas masks and heat-resistant boots.

Despite the extra precautions, being so close to an active volcano is never going to be entirely safe and the group had to ensure there was always an available exit path.

One of the lava flows stopped 60 metres in front of the camp

Founder of Volcano Discovery, Dr. Tom Peiffer said: "Some videos were from only metres away, which was very hazardous as they had to move over fragile, thin-crusted, sharp-edged and still hot lava flows that had been erupted just days before.”

The heat is so intense that tourists must cover their skin

Erta Ale can be found in the Danakil Depression, atop three unstable tectonic plates, making it one of the hottest places on Earth.

Dr. Peiffer said: "The area is in a very hot place. The Danakil is the hottest inhabited area in the world, and even in winter on top of the volcano at 600m elevation, it's typically 35 degrees in daytime.”

The magma burst through the volcano and made a lava river

Filming the event was a feat in itself, due to the heat radiation and unpredictability of the volcano.

The volcano is nicknamed 'the gateway to hell'

Tom said: "The heat radiation both from the ground, the active lava flows and the lake are extremely intense. You have to protect all exposed skin and you can only be there short moments to snap pictures.

The Afar Depression is one of the hottest places on Earth

"Most videos are so close that it's impossible to put a tripod up and do more than 20-30 seconds at a time."

Erta Ale is the most active volcano in Ethiopia

The intensity of the event caused the volcanic system to collapse a day after the tour group left.

Even in winter the Danakil is 35 degrees celsius

The volcano enthusiast said: "The places shown in the videos no longer exist in this form and it might take years of decades to reform."