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Dallol Depression and Ert Ale Volcano

The volcano encompasses Dallol mountain (which rises 50-60m above the surrounding salt plains and has approximate dimensions of 1.5 x 3 km) and several other features in the vicinity, such as the 1926 crater near the "Black Mountain" about 1.5 km to the SW.

Dallol is one of the few places where potash deposits are found at the surface. These are brought to the surface by geothermal heated groundwater and can form large secondary deposits as the water that transported them evaporates. This geothermal activity / volcanic activity is indeed common in continental extension basins such as the Danakil Depression and is further evidenced by the volcanic chains in the area which include the active Erta Ale volcano.
The characteristic white, yellow and red colors are the result of Sulphur and potassium salts coloured by various ions.
Dallol Volcano is located in the Danakil Depression in NE Ethiopia, in a remote area subject to the highest average temperatures on the planet. Ranks as one of the most alluring and physical challenging natural attraction in Ethiopia.  Ert-Ale rises from below sea level to an altitude of 613m located in the similarly named range in the hostile Danakil depression in northeast Ethiopia.  Ert-Ale is a basaltic shield volcano known for persistent lava lake activity since early in the 20th century.  It is a shield volcano which becomes more regular, with film teams and adventure travelers visiting the area in recent years.

The best time of the year for organizing Adventure Tours to Dallol and Ert-Ale runs from November to March.


One of the most important features of this region of Africa resulted from faulting and cracking on its eastern side. This has caused the Great Rift Valley, which extends from the Middle East to Mozambique, passing in a north-south direction right through Ethiopia. This shearing of the earth's surface occurred at the same time that the Arabian Peninsula, geologically a part of Africa, was sundered from the rest of the continent. Volcanic activity, which has continued until today, finds expression in volcanoes in Ethiopia's Danakil Depression, as well as in the hot springs in many parts of the country.

Earth tremors are often felt, and exposed cones of old volcanic plugs are seen throughout the plateau. After the Rift opened, much of this area was flooded by the in rushing waters of the red Sea, a flood that was subsequently stemmed by fresh volcanic activity that raised barriers of basaltic lava.

Behind these barriers the trapped inland sea that had formed began to evaporate under the fierce heat of the tropical sun - a process that is almost complete today. Only a few scattered, highly saline lakes - Gamarri, Affambo, Bario, and Abbe remain. Elsewhere, there are huge beds of natural salt - which, at points, are calculated to be several thousands of meters thick.