Erta Ale and Dalol
Erta Ale and Dallol are among the most bizarre and fascinating places on the planet. Visiting the Danakil Depression and exploring the alien volcanic landscape of this remote corner of Ethiopia is a truly unique experience that will leave you in awe. Many decribe this adventure as akin to visiting another world…
Erta Ale is a continually active volcano located 790 km from Addis Ababa in the Danakil Depression – one of the hottest deserts on Earth. The summit caldera contains two “craters”. The northern crater has variable lava lakes and lava flows. The southern crater has a permanent lava lake that is 120 m in diameter. The surface of the lava lake is constantly bubbling and forming lava-fountains. The lava lake is usually at a level of 10-30 m below the edge of the crater (the point at which we view the lake).
Dallol is a volcanic crater located in the north of the Danakil Depression at -130m below sea level. The volcanic area consists of a bizarre landscape of yellow and green acid ponds (pH-values less than 1), spectacular salt and sulphur terraces and iron oxide, sulphur and salt desert plains. Fumaroles and geothermal springs vent gases and hydrothermal fluids enriched with salt that recrystallises on the ground, forming a landscape of magnificent concretions of orange, yellow and white coloured travertines. In a few places, brine is released with a temperature of (+ 100 ° C.), and there are several geysers, and spluttering and gurgling vents. At the salt plains, spectacular salt formations that appear like flowers can be observed. The salt formations disappear each year during the rainy season, and are formed afresh during the following dry months.
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