Lake Abbe

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Lake Abbe
East Africa-Lake Abbe.jpg
satellite image
Location EthiopiaDjibouti border
Coordinates 11°10′N 41°47′E / 11.167°N 41.783°E / 11.167; 41.783Coordinates: 11°10′N 41°47′E / 11.167°N 41.783°E / 11.167; 41.783
Type salt lake
Primary inflows Awash River
Basin countries Djibouti and Ethiopia
Surface area 45,000 ha (170 sq mi) (34,000 ha open water, 11,000 ha salt flats)
Average depth 36 metres (118 ft)
Surface elevation 243 metres (797 ft)

Lake Abbe, also known as Lake Abhe Bad, is a salt lake, lying on the Ethiopia-Djibouti border. It is one of a chain of six connected lakes, which also includes (from north to south) lakes Gargori, Laitali, Gummare, Bario and Afambo.


Chimneys near Lake Abbe

Lake Abbe is the ultimate destination of the waters of the Awash River. It lies at the Afar Triple Junction, the central meeting place for the three pieces of the Earth's crust, a defining feature of the Afar Depression. Here three pieces of Earth’s crust are each pulling away from that central point, though not all at the same speed.

On the northwest shore rises Mount Dama Ali (1069 m), a dormant volcano, while along the southwestern and southern shores extend vast salt flats, 10 km in width. Besides the Awash, seasonal affluents of Lake Abbe include two wadis, the Oleldere and Abuna Merekes, which enter the lake from the west and south, crossing the salt flats. Although the present area of the lake's open water is 34,000 hectares (130 sq mi), recent droughts and extraction of water from the Awash for irrigation has caused the water level of the lake to fall five m.

The Afar people have established a settlement near the lake's shore. Lake Abbe itself is known for its limestone chimneys, which reach heights of 50 m and from which steam vents. Flamingos can also be found on the waters.


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