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Lake Abbe
satellite image
Coordinates 11°10′N 41°47′E / 11.167°N 41.783°E / 11.167; 41.783Coordinates: 11°10′N 41°47′E / 11.167°N 41.783°E / 11.167; 41.783
Lake type salt lake
Primary inflows Awash River
Basin countries Ethiopia, Djibouti
Surface area 45,000 ha (34,000 open water, 11,000 salt flats)
Average depth 36 meters
Surface elevation 243 meters

Lake Abbe or Lake Abhe Bad is a salt lake lying on the Ethiopia-Djibouti border, and is one of a chain of six connected lakes which also includes (from north to south) lakes Gargori, Laitali, Gummare, Bario and Afambo. Lake Abbe is the ultimate destination of the waters of the Awash River. Lake Abbe lies at the Afar Triple Junction, the central meeting place for the three pieces of the Earth’s crust, a defining feature of the Afar Depression; here three pieces of Earth’s crust are each pulling away from that central point, though not all at the same speed.[1]

On the northwest shore rises Mount Dama Ali (1069 meters), a dormant volcano, while along the southwestern and southern shores extend vast salt flats, 10 kilometers in width. Besides the Awash, seasonal affluents of Lake Abbe include two wadis, the Oleldere and Abuna Merekes, which enter the lake from the west and south, crossing the salt flats. Although the present area of the lake's open water is 34,000 hectares, recent droughts and extraction of water from the Awash for irrigation has caused the water level of the lake to fall five meters.[2]

Lake Abbe is known for its limestone chimneys, which reach heights of 50 meters and from which steam vents. The shore of lake Abbe is occupied by the nomadic Afar people, while the lake is also known for its flamingos. Some scenes from the 1968 movie Planet of the Apes were filmed on its shores.


  1. ^ "Afar Depression, Ethiopia". NASA Earth Observatory. Retrieved 2009-08-20.  
  2. ^ Robert Mepham, R. H. Hughes, and J. S. Hughes, A directory of African wetlands, (Cambridge: IUCN, UNEP and WCMC, 1992), p. 167

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