Afar Triangle

11.81666666666741.416666666667Koordinaten: 11 ° 49 '0 "N, 41 ° 25' 0" E

The Afar Triangle ( also Afar Triangle or Danakil Depression ) is a low level in East Africa, bordered by the highlands of Ethiopia in its west and by the Somali highlands in its south, and on the third side of the strait between the Red sea ​​and the Gulf of Aden area, the Bab al - Mandab.

The approximately 175,000 -square-mile triangle measures from north to south about 700 km and from west to east about 500 km. Politically it comprises Djibouti, the Afar Region of Ethiopia, as well as areas of Eritrea and Somalia. Its name is derived from the people living there, the Afar or Danakil.

As the area is located in the lee of the Ethiopian highlands, it is extremely low precipitation.


From a geological perspective, the Afar Triangle is unique because it brings together three active grave breaches. The north- northwest grave breach between the region and the Red Sea, a second is between the region and the north-eastern Gulf of Aden. The third is the extending south East African rift here. Here, the crust expands as a result of continental drift and all three grave breaches are still active. The tectonic plates at the respective edges of the grave breaches diverge. In this case, subsequent to the Red Sea Gulf of Aden is likely only in the event of future develop an ocean basin, as we know it today.


In the valley there are numerous volcanoes such as the Erta Ale, Dallol, Borawli, Adwa, Afdera, Alayta, Alid, Dabbahu and NaBrO.


As a result of this extension, the earth's crust is much thinner and therefore sinks one. In the Afar Triangle, this strain is already in 30 million years underway, and are due to this geological activity, large parts of the territory now up to 125 m below sea level, thus forming a depression, so

  • The Danakil Depression ( -110 m), Eritrea (see Danakil - Somalia ), near Karumsee
  • Koba sink ( - 115m ), Ethiopia, near Karumsee
  • And below salt lakes

Diverse rivers such as the Awash end here and form (salt) lakes, including Lake Abbe, Lake Assal, Karumsee, Bakilisee and Afrerasee. The salt from these deposits found in Ethiopia traditionally as a means of payment ( Amole ) use.

According to the calculations of geologists is expected to continue to drop in the wide area of the Afar triangle; the sink is thus one day be completely filled with water from the Red Sea. Since 2005, the geological activity in the region have risen sharply. Were there earlier movements in the millimeter range, emerged last column in the meter range. The volcanic activity takes underground to above as.


The Afar Triangle in 1974 known worldwide after Donald Johanson in Hadar had found the well-preserved fossil of a 3.18 million years old, named after the region Australopithecus afarensis, known as " Lucy". From this fossil species - or a close relative of this kind - has the current state of research paläanthropologischen the genus Homo developed, which are also associated with all modern people (Homo sapiens). 1994 to 1997 were also in the area Middle Awash, just a few kilometers of "Lucy", recovered the remains of " Ardi ," a largely preserved fossil of Ardipithecus ramidus. This 4.4 million years old Fund has offered the most best-preserved fossil from the circle shape of the earliest Hominini. From DRP also comes the well-preserved fossil DIK 1-1, and 2012 were published with the recovered in the excavation area Woranso - Mille -foot Burtele evidence not previously named species.

The oldest stone tools of the African Early Stone Age ( Oldowan culture) derived from the reference Gona near Hadar; they are 2,6 million and 2.5 million years old. In 2009, 3.3 million years old scratch and cut marks of stone tools were discovered fossil animal bones in DRP, showing amongst other things, that already scratched Australopithecus afarensis meat from ribs and leg bones. Because of this large number of finds the Afar Triangle is one of the cradles of civilization.

The large Afar Depression has fossils leading to sediment fillings from Miocene to Holocene. Overall, the fossil -bearing strata are more than 1,000 feet thick. The lowest layers were dated to six million years ago based on volcanic rock, on the top, 155,000 years old layers, early evidence of archaic Homo sapiens were found.

The area was already repeatedly lower than today and was flooded by rivers, but then increased again in each case and was dry. In the sediments of former flood plains and lakes large quantities of prehistoric fish, turtle and crocodile remains were found. In deposits of past flows bones of the ancestors of elephants, hippos, antelopes, giraffes, pigs, horses, rhinos, lions, hyenas and various species of monkeys were discovered - and again also remains earlier ancestors of modern man. The finds are now housed in the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa and there scientifically evaluated by international team of researchers.

Pictures of Afar Triangle