Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nature’s Unique Geological Phenomenon


I’m not yet done with Afar region. Well, it might be mind boggling for some to think of Afar as a spectacular location where not only the homeland of the oldest hominid like Ardi, but also a site with a spectacular geological phenomen. This is what today’s piece is about. This is the reason why nobody except those who are blessed to see it with their bare eyes, could their appreciation be profound and marvel at the true worth of this exceptional geological phenomenon. It is here where you could actually use the English saying "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" for it can’t be otherwise. As much as Ethiopia is endowed with medley culture, she also has a unique ecological mosaic: a landscape that varies from 116 meters below sea level at the beaming sulfuric blaze of Dallol Depression, in the Afar region, to the alpine highland peaks that rise to 4620 meters above sea level at Ras Dashen in the rocky Semien mountains; besides, the world's most phenomenal rift valley that cuts the country into two, forming a series of spectacular chain of lakes and hot springs lavish in real life forms. In brief, if at all, you rarely find such diametrically contrasting panoramas at its finest state in one nation: a divinely serene nature devoid of human intrusion, on the one hand and unique active geological phenomenon on the other. (well, unfortunately, due to some factors, and unlike other parts of the country, nobody is advised to go to the latter location without careful arrangements at the moment,,… may be some day (and k’ən) .
Afar has as many as three great significances in both archaeology and geology, according to the scientists who wrote about its topographical state. First, the region serves as the meeting place of three separate pieces of the earth’s crust, known to geologists as the Afar Triple Junction, one of the earth's most organically active areas. Secondly, it is the birth place of the first ever human fossil, Lucy or DΪnk’nesh…(actually Ardi is much older hominid now), and finally, officially, the year-round hottest places anywhere on earth. This extraordinarily unique natural site is the Afar depression, (also called the Danakil Depression or the Afar Triangle ) which is situated in the north eastern part of Ethiopia.
The physical beauty of the Dallol depression is just stunning: from a close look one can see the mountain vistas, geysers and hot springs apart from the salty plain. Crossing those marble-like surface edged with a grey belt of earth and sand and the detritus, one could step out on the pure crystalline rock-salt, towards the Dallol Hill. As the sun set, the hills and the columns looked like masses of bronze, lit up on one side with a ruddy light. Their outlines were sharply defined against the violet-tinted sky, and under them the plain seemed to have turned into a great sheet of opal. The above incredible snapshots were taken by an American scientist who was studying about the place for some time and has put them on the Scientific American journal. You may want to see many more wonderful photos of the region from the following website. http://www.sciam.com/slideshow.cfm?id=birth-of-an-ocean&thumbs=horizontal&photo_id=44138B76-0F33-4CD4-6BBF2BB310B4F06C
In brief, Afar, has not only recently left us in awe for being the true birthplace of our ancient ancestors, (with the discovery of the four million year old Ardi), but a closer look of the region depicts that it is endowed with a stunning geological phenomenon. Simply put, it’s astounding to find all these natural gifts of nature “wrapped” in one place.

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