Millions of years ago, the Danakil was indeed covered by the sea—in its case, the Red Sea. But volcanic eruptions formed barriers of lava that isolated it from the ocean. What water remained evaporated in the intense heat, leaving brine lakes and saline flats. These are mined, and the resulting slabs of salt exported by camel, by nomadic Afars who are the nearest thing the depression has to permanent inhabitants.

Curious to visit this extreme region?

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