On Tuesday 4th Jul, 2017

The bizarre landscape of the hottest place in the world

Written by

Travel at 60

If you’re living south of the equator and are currently shivering in your ugg boots dreaming of a balmy holiday escape, after reading about the hottest place in the world you may just appreciate the cooler weather. We’re starting to warm up already.

The average year-round temperature in Dallol, Ethiopia is 34.6ºC. While that may seem like a cool spring day to some of us, keep in mind that is the average.

There’s little in the way of respite from the hot weather with the lowest temperature being recorded over a four-year-period from 1960 to 1966 at 24.6ºC.

The highest temperature recorded in the same period was 46.7ºC. It’s unsurprisingly one of the most remote places in the world and is today described as a ghost town.

It receives very few visitors each year, most of whom are salt merchants arriving on camelback, but travellers who do brave the perilous journey do so with jeeps, enough non-perishable food for four days and armed guards, as the hottest place on earth is also happens to be somewhat lawless.

As well as its scorching heat, Dallol has an impressive, wild and ferocious landscape quite unlike anywhere else in the world.

Located in the Afar Depression, Dallol is 130m below sea level and is home to active volcanos, the last of which exploded in 1926. The landscape surrounding the Dallol Volcano is alien-looking with its fluorescent green and yellow acid salt ponds, miniature geysers and eerie salt layers.

Before it was a desert, the landscape used to be inundated by the sea, before drying out and being flooded again. This process repeated countless times left a layer of salt on the earth more than a kilometre thick, thus why salt merchants and miners have travelled here for centuries to collect the salt.

Volcanoes and geysers have formed here due to the groundwater seeping to the hot magma which then creates hot vapor that explodes to create a salt crater.

The 1926 explosion created a crater that was 30m wide and is today filled with an orange, acidic soup. The bright, spectacular colours present are the result of iron being present in the earth, reacting with the yellow sulphur to create green, orange and blue pools.

Scroll to see some images of the bizarre landscape.

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Travel at 60
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