East African plateau. Where is the East African Plateau?
The East African plateau is locatedsouth-west of the "African horn" - the peninsula of Somalia, south of the Ethiopian Highlands. The relief of this vast territory is strongly dissected. Here, the highest mountain peaks are adjacent to the deep depressions of the Great Rift Valley. The movement of the earth's crust is accompanied by earthquakes and eruptions of volcanoes. Almost the whole territory is in the subequatorial climatic zone.
The East African Plateau: Studies in the Nineteenth Century
The sublime part of the continent for manycenturies has been poorly studied. Although the Kilimanjaro massif on the maps was inflicted by Ptolemy (II-III century AD). Reported about the snow-capped mountain top near the equator, navigators and merchants in the Middle Ages. Colonial fragmentation hampered systematic investigation of the region.
Originally part of the territory wherethe highest peaks of Africa, belonged to Great Britain. There is a version that in 1889, the British Queen Victoria gave Germany's Emperor Wilhelm II (his nephew) the largest extinct volcano in Africa - Kilimanjaro. Until 1918 in Europe there was another name for his cone - "Kaiser Wilhelm Peak". The scientific elite showed interest in studying this field in the last decades of the 19th century, when the German Hans Mayer rose to Kibo. Since then, the flow of scientists and tourists who want to see giant volcanoes, picturesque lakes, unusual corners of nature has not dried up. In Tanzania, Kenya and other East African countries, tourism that generates income is developing.
Geological structure of East Africa
In contrast to Asia and America, in this part of the worldthere are no long ranges of folded mountains, which is explained by the geological history and structure of the earth's crust. The most elevated above the level of the World Ocean, a fragmented and mobile block is the East African plateau. The height of most of the territory is from 500 to 1500 m. The foundation is composed of the most ancient crystalline and metamorphic rocks, their age is more than 2 billion years. At the base is a Precambrian platform, a fragment of the Mother of God of Gondwana. A sedimentary cover formed on the surface. In the Cenozoic era, there were significant movements of the earth's crust, and at the last stage of mountain building arose in the world's largest zone of faults and uplifts.
The absolute height of the East Africanthe plateau is more than 1000 m. The entire territory is characterized by high seismicity, earthquakes occur, and modern volcanic activity is observed. The total length of the most significant tectonic disturbances on the planet from north to south is more than 6000 km. Rifts are coming from the Near East along the bottom of the Red Sea. In Africa, they begin in the north-east of the Danakil Depression, and end in the south at the mouth of the River. Zambezi.
High Plain - East African plateau - on the map occupies an extensive area of the continent, which is crossed in the north by the equator. In the west is the hollow of the Congo.
The length from the Ethiopian plateau to the lakeNyasa (from north to south) is 1,750 km. From the western edge to the Indian Ocean coast is 1400 km. The territory of the plateau is located to the east of the Ruwenzori mountains and the Virunga massif. The highest cones and peaks here coexist with deep tectonic faults, depressions. In this area are the sources and watersheds of the main rivers of Africa (Congo, Nile, Zambezi). The territory belongs to different continent states: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi.
Features of the relief of natural territory
The main peaks of the East African plateau are active and dormant volcanoes:
- Kilimanjaro (5895 m);
- Kenya (5,199 m);
- Meru (4565 m);
- Elgon (4320 m).
The highest mountain of the mainland is Kilimanjaro, itis located in Tanzania. The local population calls it "White Mountain", "The House of the God Bearing the Cold." Shining white snow and Kilimanjaro glaciers are visible for hundreds of kilometers. The dome of the mountain is formed by three peaks: the central one is Kibo (5696 m), the eastern one - Mavenzi (5149 m), the western one - Shira (3962 m). The East African plateau has significant reserves of drinking water. The shallow (up to 80 m) basin of Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater reservoir in the world and the second largest in the world, occupies a vast tectonic depression. Its height above sea level is 1134 m. In this area there are other receptacles of fresh water - Lake Tanganyika, Rudolph, Eduard, highland glaciers.
In East Africa, crystallinestructures are close to the surface, which facilitates the search, exploration and extraction of metal ores, precious stones. In the composition of different forms of relief, not only the oldest rocks prevail. There are young sedimentary and volcanic formations. That part of the continent, where the East African plateau is located, is rich in magmatic, metamorphic, sedimentary rocks, minerals. The list of extracted minerals:
- iron, tin and polymetallic ores;
- noble (gold) and rare metals;
- diamond deposits:
- the precious stone is tanzanite;
The diversity of the nature of the East African plateau
The climate of this area of the continent is determinedThe influence of equatorial and tropical air masses forming seasons - wet and dry. At the foot of the volcanoes facing the Indian Ocean, precipitation falls more than on the western slopes. The East African Plateau is a plain and plateau dominated by savannahs and woodlands. Plantations of agricultural plants extend up to a height of 1800 m. Typical plants are grasses, shrubs, single baobabs, umbrella acacias and other trees. In the animal world of East Africa, herbivorous ungulates, predators, and waterfowl predominate.
Buildings of termites rise in savannahs, oftenthere are snakes, lizards, land tortoises. In the north of Tanzania extends extensive volcanic highlands and the world-famous Ngorongoro crater (caldara) with a diameter of 22 km. At its bottom is Lake Magadi, the savannah of the biosphere reserve of the same name. In this part of the continent (west of the Ngorongoro Crater Highland) lies the Olduvai gorge, where the remains of an ancient human being lived 2 million years ago, the skeletons of animals they killed, primitive stone axes and scrapers.
The volcanoes and savannas of Africa attract largenumber of tourists from all over the world. The largest flow of visitors is between June and September. To study and preserve the whole diversity of nature, the organization of ecotourism on the territory of the East African Plateau, large national parks and reserves have been created.