Natural Landscape

Dallol (volcano)

Dallol - Afar Depression

Dallol (Amharic: ዳሎል) is a locality in the Dallol woreda of northern Ethiopia. Located in Administrative Zone 2 of the Afar Region in the Afar Depression, it has a latitude and longitude of 14°14′19″N 40°17′38″E with an elevation of about 130 metres (430 ft) below sea level. The Central Statistical Agency has not published an estimate for this settlement’s 2005 population; it has been described as a ghost town.

Dallol currently holds the official record for record high average temperature for an inhabited location on Earth, where an average annual temperature of 35°C (95°F) was recorded between the years 1960 and 1966. Dallol is also one of the most remote places on Earth, although paved roads to the village of Hamedela, which is close, are being built. Still, the most important mode of transport besides jeeps are the camel caravans which travel to the area to collect salt.

A railway from the port of Mersa Fatma in Eritrea to a point 28 km from Dallol was completed in April 1918. Built from 1917-1918, using the 600 mm gauge Decauville system (“Decauville” describes ready-made sections of small-gauge track which can be rapidly assembled) it transported salt from the “Iron Point” rail terminal near Dallol, via Kululli to the port.[

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Erta Ale - Afar Depression

Erta Ale is 613 metres (2,011 ft) high, with one or sometimes two active lava lakes at the summit which occasionally overflow on the south side of the volcano. 

It is notable for holding the longest-existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century (1906). Volcanoes with lava lakes are very rare: there are only eight 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, in order for the mapping team to maintain a distance and avoid the lakes’ searingly hot temperatures.

Erta Ale is centered over the East African Rift system, which is a triple junction setting whose movements are 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 this rift formation.[citation needed]

There was a major eruption on 25 September 2005 which killed 250 head of livestock and forced thousands of nearby residents to flee. There was further lava flow in August 2007, forcing the evacuation of hundreds and leaving two missing. An eruption on 4 November 2008 was reported by scientists at Addis Ababa University. Another eruption was reported in January 2017.

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