Danakil Field Campaigns





From 2016 to 2019 IRSPS has organised the Danakil Field Campaigns for Europlanet


Two expeditions with a small number of scientists and two expedition with several users who applied for attending the campaigns have been organised.


More than 20 scientists visited Northern Danakil during the Field Campaigns














The Danakil Depression is one of the lowest areas below sea level and is also the hottest point on Earth as far as the year-round average temperatures are considered. The Danakil depression (corresponding to the Afar Triangle) is one of the youngest portions of crust on Earth and represents the very beginning of an Ocean. It is a triple point where three spreading axes meet: the Gulf of Aden/Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the east Africa Rift.


The area is the real representation of a young Earth and bears a large number of exotic environments.








The most impressive geological feature is the Dallol, a volcanic edifice about 50 m high (the summit lies below the sea level) with extensive hydrothermal activities matched by sedimentary evaporitic processes. The water in the ponds is rich in minerals and displays strong acidity (up to pH 1). Europlanet is currently working in the area to provide scientific background to the parties that will participate in the expedition. Astrobiology is a major subject in Dallol due to the extreme conditions that create a unique environment, but a large number of geological subjects are available.









A number of salt and sand flats occur around Dallol and to the South. These dry lakes are dominated by evaporitic and aeolian deposition and stretch from the Northern area of Dallol to the South of Erta Ale up to the hypersaline, low pH, Lake Afrera. Another lake lies in the Northern tip of Erta Ale, the Lake Assale (or Karum).







































































Alluvial fans and ephemeral streams abound in the area where the fault systems create a sort of ridge and depression morphological pattern. The lakes around the Northern tip of Erta Ale show three interesting fan deltas.



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