From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Danakil Depression
Mains level : NA
- Microbes are known to survive almost anywhere. Scientists now believe that Danakil depression in Ethiopia is an exception.
- New research has pointed out that bubbling pools of water and mounds of salt covering its landscape — that is too daunting even for these microorganisms.
- The Danakil Depression in northeastern Ethiopia is one of the world’s hottest places, as well as one of its lowest, at 100 metres below sea level.
- At the northern end of the Great Rift Valley, and separated by live volcanoes from the Red Sea, the plain was formed by the evaporation of an inland water body.
- All the water entering Danakil evaporates, and no streams flow out from its extreme environment. It is covered with more than 10 lakh tonnes of salt.
- Now, a new study says that active and naturally occurring life cannot be sustained at Danakil.
- It identifies two barriers: magnesium-dominated brines that cause cells to break down; and an environment having simultaneously very low pH and high salt, a combination that makes adaptation highly difficult.