The Danakil Alps are a highland region in Ethiopia and Eritrea with peaks over 1000 metres in height and a width varying between 40 and 70 kilometres.[1] The alps lie to the east of the Danakil Depression[2] and separate it from the southern Red Sea. A rift escarpment facing the Red Sea forms the eastern boundary of the range.

Geologically these highlands are described as a horst[3] and are sometimes referred to as the Danakil Horst or Danakil Block. They were formed by geological faulting which has occurred since the Miocene epoch.[4] There is Precambrian basement rock underlying the region and in coastal Eritrea Precambrian and Mesozoic rocks are exposed.[5] The basement rock of the alps has become overlaid with flood basalt since the Oligocene epoch. About 20 million years ago the Afar rift zone opened up. This resulted in the alps breaking away from the Ethiopian plateau to which they had previously been attached and drifting to the east/northeast.[6]

The Danakil Alps contains many volcanic edifices, such as those forming the Nabro Volcanic Range. The largest of the Nabro Volcanic Range edifices are the Mallahle, Nabro, and Dubbi. The volcanic range extends northwestward to the Red Sea, ending with the Kod Ali volcano offshore.[7]

The Danakil Alps have been cut off from the sea since the late Pleistocene.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Ethiopian (Danakhil) Potash Project, Afar, Ethiopia". Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Curiosities of the Danakil Depression". Nasa. 27 August 2014.
  3. ^ Elaine Morgan (2012). The Scars of Evolution: What our bodies tell us about human origins. Souvenir Press. ISBN 9780285641327.
  4. ^ J.L. Melvin (1991). Evaporites, Petroleum and Mineral Resources. Elsevier. p. 44. ISBN 9780080869643.
  5. ^ R. W. Hutchinson; G. G. Engels (29 October 1970). "Tectonic Significance of Regional Geology and Evaporite Lithofacies in Northeastern Ethiopia". Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A. 267 (1181): 313–329. doi:10.1098/rsta.1970.0038.
  6. ^ "Geology of the Danakil and Ali-Sabieh Blocks". Afar Rift Consortium. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  7. ^ Pierre Wiart; Clive Oppenheimer (2005). "Final desiccation of the Afar Rift, Ethiopia". Science. 67 (2): 99–115. doi:10.1007/s00445-004-0362-x. S2CID 129124049.
  8. ^ Enrico Bonatti; Cesare Emiliani; Göte Ostlund; Harold Rydell (1971). "Final desiccation of the Afar Rift, Ethiopia". Science. 172 (3982): 468–469. doi:10.1126/science.172.3982.468. PMID 17758081. S2CID 34061051.