Denakil/Dallol Depression

ert aleDENAKIL/DALLOL DEPRESSION Located in the northeastern part of the country in Ethiopian Great Rift Valley roof with several points of below sea level. The Denakil/Dallol depression has a reputation as one of the earth’s most inhospitable but interesting and outstanding place. Temperature can hit 500c, and with its underling continental crust pulled thin, as part of the rift valley system and it’s peppered with countless colorful sulphurous springs and an astonishing quarter of Africa’s active volcanoes.

The Danakil Depression is the hottest place on Earth in terms of year-round average temperatures. It is also one of the lowest places on the planet (100 m below sea level), and without rain for most of the year. Here, the Awash River dries up in a chain of salt lakes such as Lake Afrera, never reaching the Indian Ocean.

Mount Ayalu is the westernmost and older of the two volcanoes at the southern end of the Danakil Depression. The other active volcano, Erta Ale, is one of several crater lakes of lava bubbling from the Earth’s mantle. Additionally, the area contains the Dallol sulfur springs, or hot springs. These wet environments at the Danakil Depression are being investigated to help understand how life might arise on other planets and moons.Any microorganisms living here will be extremophilic microbes of a major interest to astrobiologists.

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