Butajira, also locally known as Ara Shatan, is the only maar in a 20 km line of recent cinder cones and lava flows on the western margin of the Ethiopian Rift Valley, about 140 km south of Addis Ababa. The volcanics erupted along a line parallel to the general direction of the rift margin and its associated grabens and faults. Di Paola (1972) recognised Ara Shatan as a phreatic explosion crater (maar) and commented on the boulders scattered around the rim.



Traditionally, the origin of Ara Shatan (whose Guraghinya meaning is 'Devil's Lake') is ascribed to a wizard who long ago fought the local people. When the wizard was defeated he plunged his spear into the ground and angrily cried, "Let this be the devil's home" whereupon the ground collapsed forming the crater. Local informants maintain that a stone thrown into the lake would be hurled back by the devil.


Ara Shatan is a slightly elliptical crater with an average diameter of 880 m and a lake lying about 125 m below the rim. The lake is speculated to be at least 50 m deep. Ara Shatan's tuff rim stands 30 m above the surrounding plain. Shala and Awasa are two other volcanoes that are located to the southeast of Ara Shatan.



Sources of Information: Wood, C.A.; F.M. Dakin; 1975, Ara Shatan Maar: dynamics of an explosion, Bulletin of the Geophysical Observatory (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) Vol. 15, pp.99-106.

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Fissure vent