Showing posts with label Ethiopia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ethiopia. Show all posts

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Danakil Desert – One of Hottest Place on Earth

On the planet earth, there are only few places where temperatures pass 50 °C. Ethiopian Danakil Desert is one of them, which is famous for its volcanoes and extreme heat. The 136,956 square kilometer’s desert is located on the Southern Eritrea, and northwestern Djibouti. The hottest place on earth has only an inch rainfall round the year. But the great thing of Danakil Desert is having many lakes formed by lava flows that dammed up numerous valleys.
One of Lake Afrera/Giuletti 260ft below sea level has thick saline crusts on its banks. Another Lake Asale also possess cryptodepression in the Danakil Depression. The Danakil Depression overlaps the borders of Eritrea, Djibouti and the entire Afar Region of Ethiopia. It is the hottest places on the planet earth sometimes called "the gateway to Hell”.  
Due to extreme climate, this region's look like an alien land. In fact, the region has strange geological phenomena that one can see in his entire life. The volcanoes with bubbling lava lakes, multi-coloured hydrothermal fields, and great salt pans that dazzle the eyes. 
The desert is inhabited by few peoples that is called Afar. Every morning, hundreds of men converge on a dry lakebed in a remote corner of Ethiopia, where they cleave the ground open with hand axes to extract salt, like their fathers and grandfathers once did. They are engaged with salt mining, used camels to load thirty salt bricks weighing 4 kg each. However, their bodies are well adapted to the extreme heat and dryness, hence they need far less food and water than most other people.
The guards guarding the camels from bandits until they reach the destinations. Hence, against all odds, Afar people do live here and call it their home.  The desert has various climate cycles, tectonic activity and discontinuous erosion. One of geological feature is the movement of Africa tectonic plates moved away from Asia.
The Danakil Desert unique rivers never reaches the sea, flowing from highlands down into lakes and then intense heat evaporates water leaving behind the great salt pans. But still dry and barren place brings life, both in the water itself and the valuable salt that it carries. Many mountain chains formed, layers of sandstones and limestones deposited further offshore.
As the land rose the more sandstones formed above the limestones and tectonic shifts caused lave poured out of cracks and cover the sedimentary deposits. One of Danakil Desert area is bordered with Alps, a tabular mountain system. The highest peak is Mount Ramlo almost 7,000 ft.  The Afrera contains several active volcanoes, including the most famous Erta Ale.
Why is Danakil Desert Dangerous?
The desert is extremely breathless oxygen in certain territories, as air is burnt and filled poisonous gases. Many people hesitate to go some places due to risking their lives. Keep in mind all these factors, Danakil Desert is one of the most inhospitable environments in the world.
This moon-like landscape is a harsh place to live. Numerous fossils of ancient hominins have been unearthed here, instigation some paleontologists to suggest that this area is where our species first evolved. So, it is often referred to as the "cradle of humanity".

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Monday, 11 July 2016

The Gateway to Hell, Ethiopia

A daring 38 years photographer captures rare images of Lava Lake that's been flowing for more than 100 years in Afar Ethiopia. The Lake is one of world’s oldest continuously active lava lakes flowing since 1906. The Portuguese photographer Joel Santos, piloted a drone over the bubbling lake just a meter from the edge. The temperatures exceeding 1,100 degrees Celsius, lies inside the 2,011 foot high Erta Ale volcano.  The last threating eruption occurred in Sep 2005, almost killed 250 livestock and forced people to evacuate the area. The photographer was well aware of life threating chance of devastating natural phenomenon at such close quarters. The Joel Santos said, this was one of my dangerous projected I’ve done so far, because I was just 20 meters away from the Lava and one meter from the edge. The crater rim is changing lava moves up and down, particularly when it overflows. You have to be very careful, the ground you’re standing is solid, but could be soft, make you plunge into Lava Lake. I used a drone camera to capture the 4K footage, which could handle the scorching condition around the Lake rim. The heat waves are so strong, could cause it melt or crash. After every 2 or 3 minutes I heard a small hiss of pressure beneath the volcano, which I can’t predict when a crack just opens wide.

The entire volcano begins to bursting with lava into the air. The Danakil Desert is officially the hottest inhabited place on earth. In spite of intense heat, I took the chances to make film in early morning and late at night. In fact it’s a basaltic shield volcano and there are only 6 in the world. This is actually an unbelievable experience, amazes me how nature works. In 2012, various tourists were kidnapped, injured and some of them killed in this area. So, my passion and aim didn’t hurt with these facts. However, now Ethiopian military camp site has been established there to protect visitors. In 2009, BBC TV show The Hottest Place on Earth went there to record a world first 3D laser image of the volcanoes, provide a unique window into our planet's interior. The Gateway to Hell is the incandescent bubbling lava lake hisses like some badly burned porridge cauldron, overturning and occasionally belching molten lava. 

Monday, 28 March 2016

The Incredible Hydrothermal Fields of Ethiopia

The hydrothermal fields of Ethiopia look like landscape of an alien plant. The amazing photographs of Dallol Volcano in Ethiopia look out of world. Dallol is actually hydrothermal field, is an endless yellow orange landscape, craters stretching for several miles around. The volcano fields are located in the northern Danakil depression. This part of world has too many hot springs which discharge brine and acidic liquid. However almost 150 feet below sea level, Dallol’s craters lowest known subaerial vents in the world, the explosion crater are was formed by the intrusion of basaltic magma in Miocene salt deposits and subsequent hydrothermal activity.
A German based photographer Adrian Rohnfelder, who is curious to look something special in Ethiopia to, fulfilled his desire to shoot active lava lake. He was self-proclaimed lava hunter to shoot lave lake of Erta Ale, another volcano in Ethiopia. Adrian visited this part of world at the end of Feb 2016. He said, I’m really amazed and blown by Dallol, what an incredible view, a massive huge area full of bright colors, like orange, yellow, red, green, blue and white. I was totally stunned and thought this planet is far away on the other side of our milky way, it’s scene I have never seen before.

I took the gorgeous images of lave flowing from volcano Erta Ale, located in the Afar region. Moreover, as well as Dallol's lively landscape alike to the hot springs of Yellowstone Park in the U.S. Therefore, Erta Ale continues Lava Lake has been active from past several decades. I’ve been becoming interested in volcanoes since 2005, the photographing of active lava lake of Erta Ale has long been a dream. Because, volcanoes let me feel the real power of nature in every sense, the ear battering explosions, frightening shockwaves, falling lava bombs and the agonizing heat of nearby floating lava, including the optical spectacle of infinite fireworks. You know, “Erta Ale” volcano with one of the very rare persistent lava lakes on earth of course has been on the top of my volcanic bucket list.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

“Gateway to Hell” A Luminous Lava Lake spitting Molten Lava and Searing Heat

Well, is this the gateway to Hell? A very daredevil photographer travels to the edge of 150-feet wide active lava lake named after Satan's kingdom. If we must imagine the fiery depths of hell, the mental image can't be far from these incredible images by Karel Tupy of Ethiopia's Erta Ale, the world's oldest continuously active lava lake.  The 35 years old photographer “Tupy” says; he was frightening about his camera may would have melt from the scorching heat of the lava as he captured the intimidating scenes of the 150-feet wide basalt volcano. Without any doubt the view is simply staggering as lava inside the volcano is constantly moving, bubbling and bursting. There was immense heat and when I got to an edge of the crater, it was unbearable. After couple of seconds, my facial skin was so hot, I had to get away.  Although there was a point where I was afraid my camera was going to melt.  

Lava Lakes can be found in the badland desert area of the Afar Depression in north-eastern Ethiopia, Erta Ale's famed lava lake formed around 1906 and is one of six in the world. The volcano's name translates in the local Afar tribe's language as “smoking mountain” though the pit to its south is recognized by locals as “The Gateway to Hell”, an appropriate moniker given the luminous lava spitting lava and searing heat. Though locals aren't particularly welcoming to outsiders and the surrounding terrain is far from hospitable, travelers do make the journey to witness this real natural phenomenon.

In 2009, BBC TV show The Hottest Place on Earth went there to record a world first 3D laser image of the volcano. Like a true journey to the center of the Earth, volcanoes offer an exclusive window into planet’s interior. Standing at the lip of the lava lake you can see why the locals see this as "The Gateway to Hell", as the incandescent bubbling lava lake hisses like some badly burned porridge cauldron, overturning and sporadically belching molten lava. Having gained his own access to the area, in which five people in a group of scientists and tourists were killed while others were taken as hostages in a 2012 attack claimed by the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF), Tupy couldn't agree more with Dr Jerram's impression.

However the lava is almost 25 feet below the edge, sometimes during a burst the lake spits the lava outside the crater, so you’ve to be very careful not to get hit by it. What you get hit by quite often though is fumes. Whereas is very necessary to avoid contact with lava, apparently, it's the fumes that can be the worry. Though, the environment gets far worse that what he experienced. In September 2005 an eruption killed more than 250 head of livestock and forced locals in the surrounding area to flee. There were more evacuations in August 2007 caused by lava flow, after which two people went missing. The last eruption came in November 2008. This place is something you don't see every day. As a photographer, I get to see astonishing places and when you see that people like those photos. This is kind of a reward in itself.  
                                                              Source: Charismatic Planet

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Peculiar Travertine Chimneys of Lake Abbe

Well, The Lake Abbe is actually a salt lake, the largest and final of a chain of 6 connected lakes on the Ethiopia-Djibouti border. The lake Abbe lies on a basin which is called the Afar Depression at a point where the Arabian, Nubian, and Somalian plates are pulling away from each other. The strain set off by the splitting Nubian and Somalian plates has formed a peculiar landscape around Lake Abbe. When the two plates drift apart, the crust above them thins until it cracks.

Moreover Magma pushes to the surface via the thin spots and warm underwater springs. When the boiling water bubble up to the surface, they put the dissolved calcium carbonates generating towering chimneys, the same way water trickling down the roof of limestone caves makes stalactites and stalagmites. Specific of these chimneys can reach about the heights of 50 meters, and puffs of steam vent from the top. Moreover the strange landscape motivated Charlton Heston to shoot his classic 1968 film, "Planet of the Apes", on the shores of Lake Abbe.

The Afar Depression is captivating to geologists since it is the place where new ocean is being shaped. Therefore the depression is forming as the African plate ruptures into the Nubian and Somalian plates. In a few million years, the Indian Ocean will break down through the coastal highlands and flood the Afar Depression, forming a new ocean and making the Horn of Africa a large island. Hence when continental plates move apart in the ocean, it generates new sea floor, but in East Africa, the procedure is happening on dry ground, where it is called continental rifting.

The Lake Abbe is mainly fed by the Awash River, and seasonal streams which pass in the lake from the west and south, crossing the vast salt flats. On the northwest shore rises Mount Dama Ali, a dormant volcano. The history tells us, that the Lake Abbe was once a much larger lake but diversion of water from Awash River for irrigation in the 1950s has dry up the lake surface area by 2/3’s and water level by five meters. The adjacent town lies about two hundreds kilometers away, but there’s a little settlement established by the Afar people near the lake's shore. Aside from the Afar shepherds who bring their herds of sheep or donkeys to feed, the only inhabitants of this lake are pink Flamingos.