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Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00

Danakil Depression

The Danakil depression is part of the great east African rift valley which extends some 7200 km from Syria in the north all the way to coastal area of Mozambique in the south 5600 km laying with in Africa. It covers an area of 200,000 km2 and is flanked on the west and southeast by the Ethiopian Somali plateau, and on the east by the Danakil Block or Danakil Alps. The Danakil escarpment displays some of the most spectacular examples of faulted landscapes in the world with an altitude drop from 2500m.a.s.l. to some 125m b.s.l. One of the driest and most tectonically active areas on the planet, the Danakil is an area of singular geological fascination, a strange lunar landscape studded with active volcanoes, malodorous sulfur– caked hot springs, solidified black lava flows and vast salt – encrusted basins. This shearing of the earth's surface occurred at the same time that the Arabian Peninsula, geologically a part of Africa, was sundered from the rest of the continent.

Volcanic activity has continued until today. Earth tremors are often felt, and exposed cones of old volcanic plugs are seen throughout the plateau. After the Rift opened, much of this area was flooded by the inrushing waters of the red Sea, a flood that was subsequently stemmed by fresh volcanic activity that raised barriers of basaltic lava. Behind these barriers the trapped inland sea that had formed began to evaporate under the fierce heat of the tropical sun. Few scattered, highly saline Lakes - Gamarri, Affambo, Bario, and Abbe remain. Elsewhere, there are huge beds of natural salt which are calculated to be several thousands of meters thick. These extraordinary natural attractions have been visited by adventure seekers since 1960’s.Nowadays, Dallol, Lake Asale, and Erta ’ale are among the most visited natural attractions of Ethiopia.

Mekelle, the capital city of Tigray region, is an ideal place from which includes to explore the vicinity which includes Dallol, one of the lowest parts of the planet, Reged famous for its salt mines, Erte’ale, a typical Salt with these queer sites, the environment ranks to quench the roaring desire of Adventure seekers. The Danakil (Afar) Depression; is a geological depression near the Horn of Africa, in the northern Ethiopia of One of the mostly geologically active. Afar is well known as one of the cradles of hominids, containing the Middle Awash, site of many fossil hominid discoveries; Gona, site of the world oldest stone tools and Hadar site of Lucy, the fossilized specimen of Australopithecus Afarenssis. The Afar Depression includes the Danakil Desert and one of the lowest point in the world, Lake Asale (–155 meters or –500 ft.). Dallol is also part of the Depression, one of the hottest places year-round anywhere on Earth. Temperatures reached up to 64.4°C (148.0°F) in the 1930s. The Afar Depression is one of two places on Earth where a mid-ocean ridge can be studied on land the other place on Iceland. One of Earths great active volcanoes of 613 meters tall Erta ‘ale found here.

Erta Ale is, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century. The name of the volcano means "Smoking Mountain” in the local Afar language and its southerly pit is known locally as "the gateway to hell".

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