The Afar Triangle (or Afar Depression) is a low area bordering on the Red Sea. It is part of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa. The area overlaps the borders of Eritrea, Djibouti and the entire Afar region of Ethiopia.
Important fossil specimens of the earliest hominins have been found in this area. These are the earliest of the human clade. The area is thought by some paleontologists to be the cradle of the evolution of humans.
The Awash River is the main waterflow into the region. It runs dry during the annual dry season, and ends as a chain of saline lakes. The northern part of the Afar Depression is also known as the Danakil Depression. The lowlands are affected by heat, drought, and poor air circulation. Some of the lowlands are the hottest places (year-round average temperatures) of anywhere on Earth.
The Afar Triangle is bordered by high areas, as shown on the topographic map.
In 2005, a giant rift was formed in just a few days. The rift opened when the Dabbahu Volcano erupted. The rift is part of the process of the Arabian and African plates moving apart. This new crack, 500 metres (1,640 ft) long, and 60 metres (197 ft) deep, opened when the lava from the erupting volcano flowed underground and cooled. It left a 60 kilometres (37 mi) long, 8 metres (26 ft) wide dike within days.