National Geographic : 1970 Feb
Interrupted during a palaver amid weird shapes of twisted lava, camel herders give the camera-wielding author a chilly reception. Khaki uniform identifies the leader. Rifles guard Lakes Giulietti and Karum, where we pro pose to camp. We waste no time leaving Makale and make our way into the heart of the Danakil Depression. Searing Sun Delays Travel In the shade of a cluster of palm trees we are waiting beside our Land-Rover for the sun to lose some of its aggressiveness. My companions are Russian-born Professor Ta zieff, a naturalized Belgian renowned as a 202 volcanologist; Franco Barberi, an Italian petrologist, or expert on the origins of rocks; Marino Martini, a geochemist, also Italian; and two Ethiopian soldiers. Around us, to the west, as flat as the hand and bordered by alluring mirages, lies a blinding, sun-devoured plain. To the east stretches a black, sterile, dreadful, immense field of lava. This we must cross on foot to reach a distant cliff of obsidian, from which the petrologist wishes to take samples.