The Afar Depression (also called the Danakil Depression or the Afar Triangle) is a geological depression near the Horn of Africa, where it overlaps Eritrea, the Afar Region of Ethiopia, Djibouti.
The Danakil depression is registered as the hottest (average of 35oC and maximums of 50+); the lowest (-116m) and has to be one of the remotest places on this planet. Starting from an altitude of 2000m, as we descend into an enormous valley, the temperature rises. Along the way, the track changes from a steep mountain pass, to an easily missable desert path, to a dry, rocky river bed which offer their own obstacles. The river bed will flood in July and August, and off to the side, we can see examples of the immense geological pressures that created such an impressive feature.
The Danakil depression is an area along the Great Rift where the earth’s crust has stretched and thinned and the land has sunk over time to 371 feet below sea level, one of the lowest points on earth’s surface. Here the earth’s crust is thin enough that new land surface is constantly being created by new lava that oozes upward. Water also seeps down, to be ejected again as steam. volcanic cones are common sights, as are deep cracks in the earth. Hundreds of small earthquakes convulse the area every year.
The floor of the Afar Depression is composed of lava, mostly basalt. One of Earth's great active volcanoes, Erta Ale, is found here. The Afar Depression is, in the views of some geologists, underlain by a mantle plume, a great upwelling of mantle that melts to yield basalt as it approaches the surface.