So far, the Earth is the only place in the universe where life has been proven to exist. But even on our planet, there are places that life cannot survive. The geothermal fields in the Ethiopian region of Dallol are one of these places. Near the Danakil Depression in northeastern Ethiopia, close to the border with Eritrea, a volcanic explosion in 1926 formed a crater with a diameter of 30 meters (98 ft), exposing hot salt springs. The emerging water is 70°C (158°F) and extremely acidic with a pH value below 1. At the same time, the air temperature is very hot at 45°C (113°F).
In the language of the Afar people living in this region, the word Dallol apparently doesn’t mean “dissolution” or “disintegration” for nothing. After very thorough testing, researchers are now reporting that they could find absolutely no living cells here, even though the area is constantly being inundated with microbes due to wind and humans in the very biologically active surroundings.