The Danakil desert in Ethiopia, sometime called Afar depression, is located on the north-east of Ethiopia. Being one of the hottest places in Africa, and in parts it lays below sea level, the desert is part of the great rift valley (also known as the Great Syrian-African Rift ).
The Great Rift Valley is a 6,000-mile crack (fissure) in the earth’s crust, stretching from Syria in the north to Mozambique in the south. Geologists know that the Rift Valley was formed by violent subterranean forces that tore apart the earth’s crust. These forces caused huge pieces of the crust to sink between parallel fault lines. this process is called rifting.
The uniqueness of Afar depression is that it is the only place in the world where a continental plate (Arabia-Africa) is presently breaking apart such that a new ocean is currently being formed.
Even more: Here there is a unique point where three plates (continents) are separating from each other. It is called the Tectonic Triple Junction.
The area is tectonic sensitive, meaning that there are a continuous earthquakes, Volcano eruptions, fissures(cracks)
hundreds of meters long and deep appearing in the ground.
One of the active volcanoes, located in the Danakil, is Erta-Ale Volcano, One of Earth’s five lava lakes.
One can climb for three hours on the black slops of the mountain, sit at night just on the rim of the caldera, and get instant Geology lesson.. very unique experience!