In the Afar region of northern Ethiopia, lies a vast, tortured, desert plain called the Danakil Depression. Danakil lies about 410 ft (125 m) below sea level, and is one of the hottest and most inhospitable places on Earth— temperatures average 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34.5 Celsius) but have been recorded above 122 Fahrenheit (50 Celsius). Numerous sulfur springs, volcanoes, geysers, acidic pools, vast salt pans, and colorful mineral-laden lakes dot the area, which formed above the divergence of three tectonic plates. Volcanic activity heats spring water, bringing sulfur and iron to the surface, leaving behind yellow, green, and orange deposits. For centuries, locals have been trekking in with camel caravans to mine the salt by hand, and in recent years, a few have been guiding tourists into the alien-looking landscape.

1. Colorful features of one of several hot springs in the Danakil Depression, in Ethiopia's Afar region, photographed on February 26, 2016.
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2. A camel caravan, carrying salt that was mined by hand, is led across a salt plain in the Danakil Depression on January 22, 2017, near Dallol, Ethiopia.
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3. A long exposure image shot beside the crater of Erta Ale, an active volcano in Danakil.
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4. A colorful feature of one of Danakil's hot springs.
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5. A salt miner works in the heat as he digs out salt blocks by hand in the Danakil Depression on January 22, 2017.
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6. Salt Mountains of Dallol volcano in Ethiopia.
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7. Reddish waters of Lake Karum, or "Assale," fill a seasonally dry shallow area after flooding, due to a recent storm in the surrounding highlands, in the Danakil Desert.
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8. The landscape of one of several hot springs in the Danakil Depression, photographed on February 26, 2016.
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9. Deposits on a cone, forming around a small geyser, in one of Danakil's hot springs.
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10. Water sputters from the tip of a cone on a small geyser in one of Danakil's hot springs.
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11. The area around Lake Dallol and its sulfur springs.
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12. A sulfur lake in the Danakil Depression on January 23, 2017.
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13. Erta Ale, a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia.
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14. A tourist stands in front of the living lava lake in the crater of Erta Ale in Ethiopia on February 27, 2016.
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15. Ropy lava in a flow near Erta Ale crater.
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16. Lava formations in a secondary crater of Erta Ale, on January 21, 2014.
Ji-Elle
17. Mineral deposits near Dallol Volcano.
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18. Broad fungus-like mineral deposits in the Danakil Depression.
Tanguy de Saint-Cyr
19. A close-up of sulfur deposits in the Danakil Depression, photographed on January 23, 2017.
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20. Ethiopia's Danakil salt pan can be seen in this aerial view near the Dallol volcano on November 29, 2004.
Michel Toulouse / Reuters
21. A salt flat is pictured in the Danakil Depression on January 23, 2017.
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22. A camel caravan enters the salt mining area of the Danakil Depression on March 28, 2017. Every morning, hundreds of men converge on a dry lakebed in a remote corner of Ethiopia, where they cleave the ground open with hand axes to extract salt, just as their fathers and grandfathers once did.
Zacharias Abubeker / AFP / Getty
23. A salt-covered branch lies on a salt pan in the Danakil Depression on January 22, 2017.
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24. An Ethiopian man walks past a sulfur spring in the Danakil Depression on January 23, 2017.
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25. A camel caravan carries slabs of salt away from the Danakil Depression on April 22, 2013. The mineral is extracted and shaped into slabs, then loaded onto the animals before being transported back across the desert so that it can be sold around the country.
Siegfried Modola / Reuters