The depression is about 328 feet below sea level, and features a lot of red rock, sulfur fields, and salt deposits.
Geologists believe that the salt was deposited gradually over time, as the nearby Red Sea periodically flooded into the region. The extreme heat in the desert vaporized the floodwaters, leaving only the salt behind.
In the Danakil, salt means money. The entire local economy depends on mining and trading the mineral.
Miners use traditional methods — camel caravans, pickaxes, and rope — to cut, pack, and ferry the salt out of the harsh basin.
It can be dangerous work, though. The heat can kill unprepared workers, and the occasional earthquake can split the ground and swallow camels.
The Danakil Depression is one of the lowest points on Earth that is not covered in water. Geologists believe that in 10 million years, this searing desert will once again be submerged under water.
The brilliant green and gold colours are the result of sulfur deposits that come from underground hot springs. It looks pretty, but smells like rotten eggs.
It's a four-day trek to the Danakil Basin, during which salt miners camp in the desert with their camels.
A caravan of camels and salt miners starts out at dawn. The Ethiopian government is building a paved road to the salt mines, and soon the camel caravans may face stiff competition from trucks.
The small desert town of Berahile is a way station for the mined salt blocks. Caravans shrug off their cargo, and merchants store the salt and pay the taxes before the mineral is sent to markets around the country.
This salt is being held in a warehouse run by the Berahile Salt Association, a local group that helps miners sell their salt cargo to merchants.
This man is preparing bars of salt for sale. Most of this salt is destined for a market in Mekele, a town that is about an eight hour drive from the Danakil Depression.
In the basin, which is about 328 feet below sea level, three plates are pulling away from each other.
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