Dallol volcano

hydrothermal field -48 m / -157 ft
Danakil desert, Ethiopia, 14.24°N / 40.3°E
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5)
Last update: 28 Jun 2016
Bizarre landscape at Dallol volcano
Bizarre landscape at Dallol volcano

The Dallol volcano, or rather the Dallol hydrothermal field is located in a remote part of the northern Danakil Depression in NE Ethiopia. It is the lowest known sub-aerial volcanic area in the world.
Dallol is one of the world's most spectacular landscape: a vast area of uplifted thick salt deposits affected by intense fumarolic activity, probably caused by an active volcanic system beneath several kilometers of evaporation salt deposits.
Dallol is said to be the hottest place on the planet, with average annual temperatures well above 30 deg C.
The area commonly referred to Dallol volcano contains the approx. 1.5 x 3 km wide Dallol "mountain" (rising about 50 m above the great salt lake) near the border with Eritrea, and nearby warm springs including the Yellow Lake, the Black Mountain with the Blue Lake, said to be an explosion crater from a hydrothermal eruption in 1926.
Dallol is famous for its hot brine, and multicolored white, pink, red, yellow, green, gray and black salt deposits, hot springs and miniature geysers. These bizarre structures form in a complex interaction of solution and recrystallization processes driven by hydrothermal waters and rapid evaporation.

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Typical eruption style: Phreatic explosions. Strong hydrothermal activity at present.
Dallol volcano eruptions: 1926

No recent earthquakes
TimeMag. / DepthDistance/Location

Background

Dallol overlies several km of quaternary evaporates which contain large amounts of potash (potassium carbonate, K2CO3) that were quarried by shifting mining companies for most of the 20th century.
It is believed that Dallol, located on the main rift axis of the Danakil depression, is caused by an active basaltic volcano located under the layers of salt. The roughly circular depression on top of Dallol mountain was suggested to be a collapse crater.
The only known volcanic activity was a phreatic explosion in 1926 that produced a 30 m wide crater at the foot of the Black Mountain.

Dallol Photos

Sunrise over the salt lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Sunrise over the salt lake. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Yellow salt crust at Dallol (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Yellow salt crust at Dallol (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Colorful salt ridges dividing green and blue water ponds at Dallol volcano. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Colorful salt ridges dividing green and blue water ponds at Dallol volcano. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bizarre shapes and orange salt surfaces... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Bizarre shapes and orange salt surfaces... (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
 



Dallol volcano tours:
Highlights of Ethiopia (16 days expedition and trekking to Erta Ale volcano, Dallol, Lalibela and Semien mountains (Ethiopia))
Desert, salt and volcanoes (14 days expedition to Erta Ale volcano and Dallol hydrothermal field (Danakil desert, Ethiopia))

See also: Sentinel hub | Landsat 8
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