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Dallol, Ethiopia: Map

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Dallol is a settlement in northern Ethiopiamarker. Located in Administrative Zone 2 of the Afar Regionmarker in the Afar Depressionmarker, it has a latitude and longitude of with an elevation of 50 meters above sea level. The Central Statistical Agency has not published an estimate for this settlement's 2005 population; it has been described as a ghost town.

Dallol currently holds the record high average temperature for an inhabited location on Earth, where an average annual temperature of 34°C (94°F) was recorded between the years 1960 and 1966. Dallol is also one of the most remote places on Earth. There are no roads; the only regular transport service is provided by camel caravans which travel to the area to collect salt.

Nearby is the Dallolmarker volcano, which last exploded in 1926.

History

A railway from the port of Mersa Fatma in Eritreamarker to a point 28 km from Dallol was completed in April 1918. Potash production is said to have reached about 50,000 metric tons after the railway was constructed. Production was stopped after World War I owing to large-scale supplies from Germany, USA, and USSR. Unsuccessful attempts to reopen production were made in the period 1920-1941. Between the years 1925-29 an Italian company mined 25,000 tons of sylvite, averaging 70% KCl, which was transported by rail to Mersa Fatma. "Local History in Ethiopia" (pdf), The Nordic Africa Institute website (last accessed 1 May 2008) After the Second World War, the British administration dismantled the railway and removed all traces of it.

The Dallol Co. of Asmaramarker sold a few tons of salt from this site to Indiamarker in 1951-1953. In the 1960s, the Parsons Company of the USA, a mining company, conducted a series of geological surveys at Dallol. By 1965, about 10,000 holes had been drilled at 65 locations.

Dallol became more known in the West in 2004 when it was featured in the National Geographicmarker documentary Going to Extremes. , some buildings still stand in Dallol (all made of salt blocks).

Notes

  1. Michela Wrong, I didn't do it for you: How the World betrayed a small African nation (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), pp. 149f


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