In the Afar region of northern Ethiopia, lies a vast, tortured, desert plain called the Danakil Depression. Danakil lies about 410 ft (125 m) below sea level, and is one of the hottest and most inhospitable places on Earth— temperatures average 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34.5 Celsius) but have been recorded above 122 Fahrenheit (50 Celsius). Numerous sulfur springs, volcanoes, geysers, acidic pools, vast salt pans, and colorful mineral-laden lakes dot the area, which formed above the divergence of three tectonic plates. Volcanic activity heats spring water, bringing sulfur and iron to the surface, leaving behind yellow, green, and orange deposits. For centuries, locals have been trekking in with camel caravans to mine the salt by hand, and in recent years, a few have been guiding tourists into the alien-looking landscape.
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