In Ethiopia is the Dallol volcano, a unique geological object on our planet that seems to come straight from another world. The shapes and colors characterizing the site make it an incredible place that has no equivalent on Earth.
The Dallol volcano is located in northern Ethiopia, less than 20 kilometers from Eritrea, in the Danakil desert (or Dnakil depression) at an altitude of -82 meters. This volcano is of the phreato-magmatic type . Just like other volcanoes located in Kenya or Erta Ale located in Ethiopia as well, Dallol is the result of the separation of the Arabian plate and the African plate which led to the creation of the valley of the great rift .
However, a recent geological reinterpretation of the site states that the Dallol does not produce purely volcanic activity , but complex phenomena such as saliferous diapirism and hydrothermal circulations (hydrothermalism). These phenomena would be caused by an intrusion at 2200 meters in depth.
Thus, the Dallol volcano is a vast area that could be described as “desolate” but also very amazing due to its different geological formations such as small gaseous geysers, sulfur mountains, salt columns, acidic hot springs, sulfur concretions , magnesium chloride , among others.
The last known eruption of this volcano dates back to 1926, while the Dallol has really been known to the public since 2001, when it was finally accessible to the curious. Located in a very difficult to access area, the object was discovered in the 17th or 18th century , during the first expeditions of European settlers.
The site is not yet classified as a national park but fortunately, its isolation, not only due to its location, but also to the tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea, protects it from massive tourism . However, the area is known to be exploited for its salt mines , while since 2009 conflicts have arisen between the Afars (who held the monopoly) and British companies.
In 2009, the volcanologist Guy de Saint-Cyr went to meet this volcano. From this visit came a mini-documentary broadcast by France TV Info . Here is another made by Philippe Bourgine: