Highland 2006 location:Mekelle date:18-24 September 2006
The Danakil, also called the Afar Depression is part of the Great Rift Valley which extends some 7200 km from Jordan to the coastal region of Mozambique near Beira, with 5600 km laying within Africa (Pritchard, 1986). It covers an area of ~ 200,000 km2 and is flanked on the west and southeast by the Ethiopian and Somali Plateaux, and on the east by
the Danakil Block or Danakil Alps (Bosworth, 2005).The Danakil escarpment displays some of the most spectacular examples of faulted landscapes in the world with an altitude drop from 2500 m.a.s.l. to some 1000 m in the area visited during this excursion. The purpose of this post-conference tour of the HighLand2006 congress is to have a multidisciplinary exchange of ideas on various aspects along a transect from Mekelle over the Ethiopian
Plateau, all the way down to Arho, the deepest point of the Afar desert. So far Mekelle University did not yet have the opportunity to conduct research down the Danakil escarpment.
It is hoped that bringing this international group of experts together will be a first step towards future international scientific collaboration with Mekelle University.
In this excursion guide a summary review is presented regarding the state-of-the-art of our knowledge on the Danakil Depression: its evolution, geology, geomorphology, phytogeography, palaeo-anthropology and soils. It is hoped that this background will serve as a first entry for in-depth scientific discussions during the trip.