Ethiopia: Dallol, a volcano straight out of a science fiction movie!

The Dallol volcano in Ethiopia is a unique geological object on our planet that seems to come straight from another world. The shapes and colors that characterize the site make it an incredible place, unparalleled on Earth.

Breathtaking Landscapes


Located in northern Ethiopia, less than 20 kilometers from Eritrea, the Dallol volcano is situated in the Danakil Desert (or Danakil Depression) at an altitude of -82 meters. This volcano is of the phreato-magmatic type. Similar to other volcanoes in Kenya and Erta Ale in Ethiopia, Dallol resulted from the separation of the Arabian and African plates, leading to the creation of the Great Rift Valley.

However, a recent geological reinterpretation of the site suggests that Dallol does not produce purely volcanic activity, but complex phenomena such as salt diapirism and hydrothermal circulations (hydrothermalism). These phenomena are thought to be caused by an intrusion at a depth of 2200 meters.

Thus, the Dallol volcano is a vast area that could be described as ‘desolate,’ yet it is also very surprising due to its diverse geological formations, including small gaseous geysers, sulfur mountains, salt columns, acid hot springs, sulfur concretions, magnesium chloride concretions, among others.

The last known eruption of this volcano dates back to 1926. Dallol has been known to the public since 2001 when it became accessible to the curious. Located in an area that is very difficult to access, the site was discovered in the seventeenth or eighteenth century during the first expeditions of European explorers.

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The site is not yet classified as a national park, but fortunately, its isolation—due not only to its location but also to the tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea—protects it from mass tourism. However, the area is known to be exploited for its salt mines, and since 2009, conflicts have arisen between the Afars (who held the monopoly) and British companies.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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