Dallol (hydrothermal system)
Dallol is a unique, terrestrial hydrothermal system around a cinder cone volcano in the Danakil Depression, northeast of the Erta Ale Range in Ethiopia. It is known for its unearthly colors and mineral patterns, and the very acidic fluids that discharge from its hydrothermal springs.
The Dallol area lies up to 120 metres (390 ft) below sea level, and has been repeatedly flooded in the past when waters from the Red Sea have flowed into the depression. The last separation from the Red Sea was about 30,000 years ago.
The discovery of the volcano by the first European settlers certainly dates from the first colonization and expeditions in the region, in the 17th or 18th century. But the hostility of the depression, the unbearable heat which reigns there, and the dangers of the site (acid basins, toxic fumes), did not favour the exploration of the zones close to the crater. On the contrary, the Erta Ale was much more accessible, especially because the part of the rift where it is located (called the Erta Ale Range), is significantly higher. The last eruption of this phreato-magmatic volcano dates back to 2011.