Call for the participation to the first expedition of Europlanet Danakil Field Campaign is now online. Deadline is March 30th , 2017.
In 2017 the Europlanet Danakil Field Campaign will start with the selection of the teams that will attend the 1st expedition.
The expedition will take place in January 2018. The Call is available in the Europlanet website, here .
Further information is also available here .
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 expedition will concentrate in the Northern Danakil.
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 areato 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.
Scientists intending to attend the Campaign must apply in the Europlanet website by March 30th, 2017. The 1st expedition will be run in January 2018.
Potential participants are strongly advised to contact Gian Gabriele Ori (IRSPS/Ibn Battuta Centre) (ggori at irsps.unich.it) to discuss the subject and logistics of the application and to get information on logistics and feasibility.
Applicants must be aware that the expedition will visit remote areas in the hottest place of the Earth. Travel will be by 4WD, but walks will be necessary. Camping will be necessary for the entire period of the expedition. The logistics, duration of the expedition and other issues will be decided according to the selected parties. The expedition may be split in two or more legs dedicated to different parties.
The financial support will cover travel and the cost of the expedition. Potential non-EU participant are entitled to apply.
Fan delta in Lake Assale
Fan delta in a Northern lake
Fan delta in a Northern lake
The Dallol Volcano
Palaeoshorelines, sand sheets and a fossil fan delta of Lake Assale
Hypersaline Lake Afrera
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