Ert ale’and Danakill depression
Dallol volcano is located in the Danakil Depression in North East of Ethiopia offers an opportunity to see the first signs of a new ocean basin forming. South of Dallol, the crust is cut into rectangular salt slabs and transported up into the highlands a near endless procession of camel caravans. The salt canyons south of Dallol Mountain are some of the most impressive geological features in the area. It looks like another planet because there are lots of colorful rocks in each meter. It’s quite like a science fiction.
Not far from Dallol in the Danakil Depression north of the Great Rift Valley, the only volcanic crater below sea level has remained silent since 1926 as the seabed it will one day occupy gradually widens.
Another impressive natural phenomenon of this region is Erta Ale, an active shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia. It is the most active volcano in Ethiopia. Erta Ale is 613 meters tall, 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. It is located in the Danakil Depression.
The Afar people inhabited this harsh inhospitable region, will give a cultural encounter to your stay in the area. The Nomadic Afar people, dominantly Muslim, the women are dressed colorfully, mainly they live on herding camels and livestock; their villages are made up of small circular mobile huts with very inter woven kinship social structure led by elders.
More about Ertale
Erta Ale (or Ertale or Irta’ale) is a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia, the most active volcano in Ethiopia. It is in the Afar Depression, a badland desert area spanning the border with Eritrea, and the volcano itself is surrounded completely by an area below sea level, making it a relatively low-elevation volcano.
Volcanoes with lava lakes are very rare: there are only four in the world.
Erta Ale means “smoking mountain” in the local Afar language and its southernmost pit is known locally as “the gateway to Hell”. In 2009, it was mapped by a team from the BBC using three-dimensional laser techniques. As the lakes have searingly hot temperatures, laser scanning, which can map any surface at a distance, was used.
Erta Ale is centered over the east African rift system which is a triple junction setting that is resulting in the formation of a pull apart basin or rift. The volcano comprises mainly Mafic material which has been brought up to the surface caused by unroofing of the mantle due to the formation of the pull-apart basin.
The Danakil Depression is the northern part of the Afar Triangle or Afar Depression, a geological depression that has resulted from the presence of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. The Danakil Depression is located in the Afar region near the Eritrean and Djibouti borders. The Afar region is referred to as the cradle of hominids after archeologists found the famous Lucy fossils dated 3.2 million years back in 1974.
The Danakil Depression is most famous for being the hottest place on earth in terms of year round average temperatures. It is also one of the lowest places on the planet and there is no rain for most of the year. Here, the Awash River dries up in a chain of salt lakes never reaching the Indian Ocean.
The Afar people living in the region are pastoralists and engaged in salt mining. In addition to the Dallol sulfur springs, tourists come to see the active volcano Erta Ale, one of several magma crater lakes bubbling from the earth’s core.