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|Afar Danakil Depression|
One of Africa's most striking geographical features is a giant tear across the earth's surface visible even from space: the Great Rift Valley. Extending from the Middle East to Mozambique, the Rift Valley passes in a north-easterly to South-westerly direction right through Ethiopia, endowing the country with some spectacular sights range from hot, dry, and barren places to a string of beautiful lakes. This tremendous collapse of the earth's surface occurred at the same time that the Arabia Peninsula, geologically a part of Africa. The Afar Depression is a plate tectonic triple junction where the spreading ridges that are forming the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden emerge on land and meet the East African Rift. The Afar Depression is one of two places on Earth where a mid-ocean ridge can be studied on land, the other being Iceland. At present, the Afar is slowly being pulled apart at a rate of 1-2 cm per year. The floor of the Afar Depression is composed mostly of basaltic lava. The Afar Depression and Triple Junction also mark the location of a mantle plume, a great uprising of mantle that melts to yield basalt.