Exploring the ‘Beauty of Hell’ in the Hottest Place on Earth
There are places on Earth that challenge our perception of life. One such place is the Dallol geothermal springs in Ethiopia, where you can experience the true beauty of the “abyss.” Located in northern Ethiopia, a few hours away from the bustling central region, lies a vast and arid land unlike any other place on Earth. This place is called Dallol.
Dallol, situated in the depression of the Danakil Desert, is a high-salinity area formed by the intrusion of basaltic magma into Miocene salt deposits and hydrothermal activity. It is now considered extremely dangerous for humans to set foot here.
This depression is one of the lowest and most extreme temperature regions on the planet. Dallol has been dubbed the “Water Hell” or the “only place on Earth where no living creature can exist.” It’s not that life doesn’t want to exist here, but rather that it cannot.
In this area, even winter temperatures can reach up to 45 degrees Celsius, and it is filled with pools of highly acidic and concentrated saltwater with very low pH levels.
The name Dallol, derived from the local Afar language, means “disintegration,” describing the landscape of green acidic pools (with pH values less than 1), iron-rich plains, sulfur, and salt formations in vibrant colors such as green, yellow, orange, and brown.
Dallol can be described as an enchanting and vibrant water world, with a blend of various colors. From a distance, the radiant yellow scenery appears like a paradise, making one feel as though they’ve stepped into another world. However, in reality, the hot brine water and highly toxic gas make it an inhospitable place, coupled with the presence of an active volcano beneath.
Dallol truly is an uninhabitable land. Nevertheless, many people have ventured here to exploit its abundant salt deposits. There were even pre-World War I European-funded explorations and expeditions, but they quickly became abandoned and ceased investment throughout the first half of the 20th century.
Despite its unique and stunning beauty, and the possibility for tourists to visit, Dallol is still not recomm ended as a tourist destination due to its inherent dangers.
The most important thing for visitors to note is that no matter how they choose to explore Dallol, extreme caution is a must! The vivid blue and green liquid pools that you see are not water but rather concentrated sulfuric acid that can dissolve even the soles of your shoes.
In conclusion, Dallol’s remarkable and otherworldly allure showcases nature’s ability to create extraordinary landscapes, albeit in an inhospitable and treacherous setting.