Gaet'ale Pond

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gaet'ale Pond
ET Afar asv2018-01 img58 Dallol.jpg
General view
Location of the hypersaline lake in Ethiopia.
Location of the hypersaline lake in Ethiopia.
Gaet'ale Pond
LocationAfar Region, Ethiopia
Coordinates14°12′48″N 40°19′17″E / 14.21333°N 40.32139°E / 14.21333; 40.32139Coordinates: 14°12′48″N 40°19′17″E / 14.21333°N 40.32139°E / 14.21333; 40.32139
TypeHypersaline lake
Primary outflowsNone
Max. length60 m (200 ft)
Max. width40 m (130 ft)
Salinity433 g/kg
Hot spring in the pond

Gaet'ale Pond is a small hypersaline lake located near the Dallol crater in the Danakil Depression (Afar Region, Ethiopia). It is located over a hot spring of tectonic origin and has no apparent inlet or outlet streams. The water of Gaet'ale Pond has a salinity of 43%, making it the saltiest water body on Earth.[1]

Location and origin[edit]

Gaet'ale Pond is the largest of a series of small ponds located approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) southeast of Dallol springs. It is crescent-shaped with a diameter of about 60 metres (200 ft).

According to residents of the nearby village of Ahmed'ela, an earthquake in January 2005 reactivated a thermal spring and the pond was created.[2] For this reason, its temperature of 50–55 °C (122–131 °F) is hotter than the environment.[3]

Composition of the water[edit]

The salts in the water of Gaet'ale Pond are mainly composed by calcium chloride at 2.72 mol/kg and magnesium chloride at 1.43 mol/kg. It also contains small amounts of Na+, K+ and NO2 ions. The total amount of dissolved solids content is 433 g/kg, or 43.3%. It also contains traces of iron(III) that form a complex with chloride, giving the water a characteristic yellow color.[1]

Bubbles of odourless gas are emitted from the lake surface. It is likely volcanically produced carbon dioxide. Bird and insect corpses have been found around the pond, and it has been proposed that the gas may be harmful for small animals or humans.[3]


  1. ^ a b Perez, Eduardo; Chebude, Yonas (April 2017). "Chemical Analysis of Gaet'ale, a Hypersaline Pond in Danakil Depression (Ethiopia): New Record for the Most Saline Body of Water on Earth". Aquatic Geochemistry. 23 (2): 109–117. doi:10.1007/s10498-017-9312-z.
  2. ^ Master, Sharad (2016). "Gaet'ale - a reactivated thermal spring and potential tourist hazard in the Asale salt flats, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia". Journal of Applied Volcanology. 5: 1–9. doi:10.1186/s13617-015-0042-x. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b Fox-Skelly, Jasmin (4 August 2017). "In Earth's hottest place, life has been found in pure acid". BBC Future. Retrieved 27 March 2018.

External links[edit]