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Dallol and Mount Ert ‘Ale

Dallol is the northern most extension of the (Great) Rift valley. It acts like a cauldron, trapping all the heat.  Dallol is a field of phreatic craters in the salt plain north east of Erta Ale range in one of the lowest and hottest are of the desolate Danakil depression and home to the Afar People.

It has been formed by the intrusion of basaltic magma in Miocene salt deposits and subsequent hydrothermal activity. Phreatic eruptions took place here in 1926, forming Dallol Volcano, numerous other eruption craters dot the salt flats nearby. These craters are the lowest known subaerial volcanic vents in the world, at over 45 m (150 ft) below sea level.

Numerous hot springs are discharging brine and acidic liquid here. Widespread are small, temporary geysers which are forming cones of salt.

The term Dallol was coined by the Afar people and means dissolution or disintegration describing a landscape made up of green acid ponds (pH-values less than 1) iron oxide, sulfur and salt desert plains. The area resembles the hot springs areas of Yellowstone Park.