The amazing geology of Lake Abbe

The lake lies in the Afar Rift Basin, where the Arabian, Nubian, and Somali plates are pushing apart. The separate plates have formed a peculiar environment surrounding Lake Abbe as a result of the stress. The crust of the plates thins as they move apart, eventually splitting.

Magma seeps to the surface via cracks in the earth’s surface and heated subsurface springs. Calcium carbonate is produced when a bubble of boiling water reaches the surface, forming lofty geological structures known as chimneys.

cave wall of lake abbe

Water pouring down cave walls generates stalactites and stalagmites in the same manner. Some of these chimneys surpass 50 meters in height and shoot steam out of their nozzles. Lake Abbe’s unearthly scenery inspired Charlton Heston to direct the legendary film Planet of the Apes in 1968.

The Afar Fault is well-known among geologists since it is the site of the formation of the new ocean. The Indian Ocean will burst through the hilly coastline terrain and inundate the newly created Afar Trench, producing a new ocean and converting the Horn of Africa into a vast island in a few million years.

A new seabed is formed as the continental plates in the ocean shift apart from one other. However, in East Africa, the process occurs on dry ground, thus the name “continental Rift.”

The geology of Lake Abbe
The geology of Lake Abbe

The Awash River and seasonal streams that join the lake from the west and south, traversing huge salt deposits, provide water for Lake Abbe. Mount Dama Ali, an extinct volcano, stands on the northwest coast. The usage of the river for irrigation in the 1950s decreased the surface area of Lake Abbe by two-thirds and the water level by five meters.

The nearest town is 200 kilometers distant. However, there is a tiny village on the lake’s beaches. Shepherds bring their flocks of sheep and donkeys here to drink, and the lake’s sole residents are pink Flamingos.

Animals drinking water from the Lake Abbe
Animals drinking water from the Lake Abbe

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