I am in Ethiopia which is organising the Conference on African Geology this year. I enjoy the country and have several students that I have trained who work here in the University of Addis Ababa. With a group of geologists attending the conference we went on a field trip to the Ethiopian sector of the African rift valley, which terminates in the Afar.
|Geological Map of the Afar Rift|
|Me overlooking the Ethiopian sector of the African Rift Valley|
It is at this point that three of Earth's plate boundaries meet in a triple junction and it is the only place on the planet where a triple junction occurs on continental crust and where we can observe the rifting process and the birth of an ocean. This is one of the hottest parts of the planet, both through the climate but also the intense volcanic activity. Nonetheless, there are several million people who live in the area and manage to use irrigation effectively to farm and also are starting to look into sustainable energy systems, geothermal from the volcanic systems and also wind and water.
It is an extreme place in many ways and one that is most susceptible to climate change, which may on the multi decade scale significantly impact on the inhabitants ability to live in the Ethiopian rift in particular in the triple junction region of Afar.