Lake Assal, located 150 meters below sea level, is the lowest point in Africa. It has extremely high salinity, supposedly higher than the Dead Sea in Israel/Jordan, and is only a few km. from the Red Sea along the opening of the East African Rift. The lake is raked by very strong winds every afternoon as the heat of the Danakil Depression draws cooler air from the sea inland, and the wind and sun combine to produce rapid evaporation. The lake level appears to be dropping as old lake shore levels and associated sediments are visible around the lake, like rings in a bathtub, approximately 70 meters above the current shoreline.
The salt at Lake Assal is still exploited by local Afaris who transport it by camel for human consumption. A large modern salt extraction facility was recently constructed here by an American firm (Salt Investment S.A.), but the facilities have not been completed and are largely abandoned except for a security guard/caretaker.
The animal skull was placed on the lake shore so that it would become coated in salt and sold as a souvenir to visitors who come here from the capital.
- ©2011 George Steinmetz
- Image Size
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- Contained in galleries
- Afar Depression