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Danakil Depression

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Danakil Depression

The Danakil Depression marks the northern end of the Great Rift Valley on the African mainland, the point where Earth’s forces are most actively tearing the continent apart. It is an extremely arid, hot desert area which stretches from the coastline of Eritrea through north-eastern Ethiopia and western parts of Djibouti. The Danakil is an area of outstanding geological interest, providing a unique window on the underlying processes which have created the Earth’s continents and land masses. Here, in relatively close proximity, geological features associated with the splitting of continental land masses are clearly seen, including intense volcanic activity (with one of the few permanent lava lakes on the planet on Mount Erta Ale), hot sulphur springs elaborately decorated with extraordinary coral-like formations as well as salt-encrusted lake beds. An expedition to the Danakil Depression will always be a unique adventure!!

Erta Ale

Erta Ale is a basaltic shield volcano rising 613 metres out of the Danakil Depression. The volcano contains an active lava lake, which means the lava in the crater remains liquid due to convection currents of the magma system underneath. Visually, the result is a thin charcoal crust that’s pierced by glowing red fissures of searing liquid lava. The lava spits and splatters, and the lack of guard rails at the crater rim means you can peer directly into the fiery belly, known locally as the ‘gateway to hell’. The gently rising slopes of Erta Ale crescendo to a 1700 x 600 metre caldera dotted with pit craters containing the lava lake.

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      Djibouti Street Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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