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Southern Afar: The Main Ethiopian Rift (MER) Northern Extremity

Jacques Varet
Published 2018 · Geology

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Southern Afar is modeled by the Main Ethiopian Rift, trending in a NNE-SSW direction. This axis, although less active than the Red-Sea and Aden oceanic rift system crossing through NE Afar, determined the geography and the geology of the area. The Awash valley flows along this axis and the river curves in its northern extermity through the Kalo and Gobaad plains ending at Lake Abhe at the Djibouti border. Thick basins resulted from fluviatile and lacustrine sedimentation during the last 4My. This is where the earliest human setlements are found. A set of volcanic centres is aligned along this axis, displaying hydrothermal activity (fumaroles and hot-springs).
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