Excursion to Yellow Lake and salt canyon in the Danakil desert along Ethiopia - Eritrea border

December 31, 2010

The great day began with the tour to Dallol and its incredible colors, continues with the exploration of the salt canyon characterized by bizzarre towers and pinnacles, before getting to Yellow Lake, another geology jewel, having the waters colored by minerals and showing the presence of gas bubbles from the underground.

Salt canyon
We visit a canyon made of salt (mainly sodium chloride, potassium and magnesium) along the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, in the heart of the Danakil desert.

 

Salt towers Danakil - Ethiopia
Salts The towers and pinnacles were eroded by wind and seasonal flooding. The rocks are very brittle, as they are composed mostly of salts of potassium and magnesium, interspaced with layers of red clay.

 

Armed guard
This area is located very near the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, in a not too quiet place of the world. Soldiers armed with Kalashnikov protect the group of tourists by looking the situation from the top of some pinnacles.

 

Dry ground
During the northern summer, the whole area is flooded by water coming from the plateau of Ethiopia, dissolving the salts in the soil and transporting them. When the water evaporates during the dry season, curious geometric forms remain on the ground.

 

The salt castles...

 

Magnesium sulphate
In the photo on the right: layers of potassium sulfate and magnesium, interspaced with layers of dark red clay which is deposited during floods.

 

Canyon
A claustrophobic passage between the sharp rocks, leading to a sort of hall where everything is made of salt.

 

Supersaturated water
A pool of crystal clear water, supersaturated with minerals.

 

Being comprised mostly of crystals of magnesium sulphate and potassium, the rocks are made sharp-shaped by winds and water.

 

Giant towers of salt interrupt the vast Danakil depression 120 meters below sea level.

 

Red water Yellow lake
Danakil desert
The tour continues towards this little lake called by the Italian geologists "yellow lake" because of the supersaturated red waters.

 

Unusual rock formations around the Yellow Lake, about four inches high.

 

Springs with mineral water
Bubbles
The gurgle of water is not due to the temperature, but to bubbles of gases coming from underground.

 

Yellow Lake picture.

 

Other pictures of Yellow Lake.

 

Danakil
Picture of Danakil desert.

 

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