Sunday, November 9, 2014

How Satan created Ethiopia's Crater Lake.


On the way back to Addis Ababa from Ethiopia's Omo region, I wanted to stop at a crater lake I had heard about. While it is suppose to be a tourist destination, we passed the small rusty directional sign along the road several times, before finding the correct little road to the lake.

This emerald-green lake is in a deep crater about the depth of a 35 story skyscraper from the crater edge. I have no idea how deep it might be and a local told me it is deadly to throw a rock into the lake.

This panoramic photograph makes the lake look so small. But, in fact, you could put a 35-story skyscraper on the water surface and it would barely reach the height of the rim.
Actually, the local man—who walked from his nearby field of maze—told me that this scenic crater lake is an evil place. In fact, the lake’s name, Ara Shetan literally means “Lake of Satan”. 
Many years ago, it seems that an evil sorcerer, who had fought with local peasants, was finally mortally wounded. He fell at the exact spot of the lake. With his last bit of energy as he was dying, he drove his spear into the ground, yelling a curse something like “let this be the devil’s home.” Suddenly, the earth below the dying Satan imploded, swallowed him up and the hole filled with a greenish water.

"Be careful. Don't throw a rock into the lake," my self-appointed guide told me.  It seems that the lake’s Satan will hurl the rock back with incredible intensity, killing the stone thrower.  

While today's geologists might have a different explanation for the lake's formation—something about shifting faults causing the hole—I decided it prudent not to throw any rocks into the lake.

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