Sunday Morning Volcano

Guest Video: Dallol Volcano

Ethiopia's Dallol Volcano is a surreal mix of bright colors, deadly natural dangers, and risk of armed attack. This video captures that unique combination well.

Before watching this beautiful but disturbing video by Jean-Marc Paillous, know that Dallol Volcano in Ethiopia rises almost 200 feet above the surrounding salt flats – and it’s still 296 feet below sea level!

That’s because Dallol sits in the Danakil Depression, the lowest-lying land on Earth.

No lava has been documented there – the craters are the results of explosions that happen when underground magma comes in contact with ground water.

And the armed guards are totally necessary to protect tourists, Paillous notes, because geopolitical tensions between Ethiopia and nearby Eritrea have led to hostage-taking in the nearby settlement of Ahmed Ela in recent years.

If that doesn’t get you, other, more nature-related dangers might. As far as weather goes, the average daily temperature at Dallol is over 100 degrees. The volcano itself emits toxic gases, and sometimes the salty crust beneath your feet is thin enough to break, dropping you into a boiling pool of acidic brine.

So perhaps you might want to forego the trek by camel or Jeep to this remote area and just enjoy this video of one of our planet’s most dangerous but beautiful sights – Dallol Volcano.

Here is the Smithsonian’s GVP page on Dallol.

(By the way, the last scenes of the video were filmed at the salt flats of nearby Lake Karum, south of Dallol.)

Featured image: Dallol Volcano, by Achilli Family | Journeys, Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

h/t for post inspiration to Cracked (F-bomb and mild cussing alert at link).


About BJ Deming

After getting an associate's degree in forestry, I studied geology as an undergraduate back in the 1980s but went into medical transcription instead. It just worked out better for me. The Internet renewed my interest in geoscience as a hobby, and when I retired in 2014, I decided to write a book about cat evolution. That started a new career for me (enormous fun but not self-supporting yet). Right now, besides blogging I am finishing up the first two books in a self-published ebook series about the cat family and its history. Thanks for your interest!

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