East Africa, 1996

Click on photos for full-sized images. Click on photo's number for more complete details Photos copyright A. Damon


lake_asal01.jpg (37019 bytes)

01 - Lake Asal_01



lake_asal02.jpg (25644 bytes)

02 - Lake Asal_02



lake_asal03.jpg (36067 bytes)

03 - Lake Asal_03



lake_asal04.jpg (43638 bytes)

 04 - Lake Asal_04



lake_asal05.jpg (50011 bytes)

05 - Lake Asal_05



canyon_djibouti.jpg (43786 bytes)

06 - Canyon



petit_bara.jpg (44209 bytes)

 07 - Le Petit Bara



iles_du_diable01.jpg (32382 bytes)

08 - Les Iles du Diable



iles_du_diable02.jpg (28942 bytes)

09Les Iles du Diable



tectonic_stairs.jpg (36815 bytes)

 10 - Tectonic separation



rock_painting.jpg (63086 bytes)

11 - Rock painting



ardukoba.jpg (48810 bytes)

12 -  Ardukoba


Additional Details:

  • 01, 02, 03 - Asal Lake - a lake 150 m below sea level (the point of lowest altitude on the African continent) with a salt content 10 times higher than sea water.  As the salt evaporates, it forms the white crystals which can be seen in the foreground.  The crystals are hard and sharp and extremely painful to walk on.  In photo 01, the sandy color comes from dust blown over the salt.
  • 04 - Caravans of camels come to Lake Asal to harvest the salt and take it to markets hundreds of kilometers away.  Difficult work in a difficult climate - this is one of the hottest places on Earth.  The heat causes the water to evaporate at such a rate that scientists estimate there will be no more lake here by the year 2010.
  • 05 - Of all the photos I took in Djibouti, this one is my favorite.  It shows crystallized lava flows in the foreground, a crack in the earth just in front of the water, showing where two continents are being ripped apart, and the Asal Lake with its white crystals of salt all around showing that the level of the lake is constantly dropping.
  • 06 - This canyon is only about 60 meters deep but it shows the powerful cutting force of erosion by water.  This allows us to see the many layers of rocks below the surface.  The horizontal lines (called strata) are successions of deposits of either lava or sedimentary rocks.
  • 07 - Djibouti is a very arid country.  Le Petit Bara is one of the more arid places in Djibouti where the mudflats show the characteristic cracks from evaporation.  The stones placed on the right are to show where the road is when all traces of it have been erased by the wind.
  • 08 - Les Iles du Diable (Devil's Islands) are two volcanoes which were formed underwater.  Since the level of the water has gone down, they are visible now.
  • 09 - Les Iles du Diable (Devil's Islands) seen from an airplane.  
  • 10 - The step-like silhouette seen on the horizon shows that this region is being pulled apart as two tectonic plates are separated.  Notice how the "steps" go down from left to right until they get to the low point in the middle and then they go back up.  The lowest point in the middle is where the two plates are separating.  In millions of years, an ocean will separate them.
  • 11 - These rock paintings are thousands of years old.  They prove that humans occupied these lands long ago.
  • 12 - The cracks in the Earth's surface seen here are due to tectonic plates separating.  As they are pulled apart, magma rises to the surface to form volcanoes.  It is possible to see dark patches on either side of the cracks - these are old lava flows where the hot liquid was able to escape to the surface.  Just above the middle of the photo and to the left of center, the cracks end and there is a little cone.  This is the volcano Ardukoba which had the most recent eruption in Djibouti's history (1978). 


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