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Eastern Half of Lake Kivu in Great Rift Valley, Rwanda

2S 29.1E

August 20th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Mountains

Rwanda - July 27th, 2010

This orthorectified image shows mountainous western Rwanda and the eastern half of Lake Kivu (left). One of the African Great Lakes, it lies in the Albertine (western) Rift of the Great Rift Valley, on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The cities of Goma, in the DRC, and Giyensi, in Rwanda, can be seen as white areas on the shores of the lake in the top left corner.

The lake covers a total surface area of some 2,700 km2 (1,040 sq mi) and stands at a height of 1,460 metres (4,790 ft) above sea level. The lake bed sits upon a rift valley that is slowly being pulled apart, causing volcanic activity in the area, and making it particularly deep: its maximum depth of 480 m (1,575 ft) is ranked fifteenth in the world. The lake is surrounded by majestic mountains.

Vegetation Index of Ethiopia Around Great Rift Valley

5.0N 37.0E

January 3rd, 2010 Category: Climate Change

Ethiopia - December 17th, 2009

Ethiopia - December 17th, 2009

Within Ethiopia is a vast highland complex of mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, which runs generally southwest to northeast and is surrounded by lowlands, steppes, or semi-desert. The great diversity of terrain determines wide variations in climate, soils, natural vegetation, and settlement patterns.

The Great Rift Valley can be clearly seen running diagonally through the center of this FAPAR image. Yellow areas indicate low photosynthetic activity, common in steppes and semi-desert lands. Green to red areas indicate high photosynthetic activity where more vegetation is present.

Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia

8.8N 39.9E

June 27th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Ethiopia - June 3rd, 2009

Ethiopia - June 3rd, 2009

The tan terrain dominating this image is part of an Ethiopian section of the Great Rift Valley. There is a green, vegetated stretch on the left side, near the center of the valley, where water is present.

A rift valley is a linear-shaped lowland between highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift or fault. This action is manifest as crustal extension, a spreading apart of the surface which is subsequently further deepened by the forces of erosion.

When the tensional forces are strong enough to cause the plate to split apart it will do so such that a center block will drop down relative to its flanking blocks. This creates the nearly parallel steeply dipping walls.

As this process continues the valley gets wider and wider until it becomes a large basin that fills with sediment (the tan terrain here) from the rift walls and the surrounding area. The area visible here, part of the East African Rift Zone, is still active today.

Dust Over the Afar Depression, Ethiopia and Eritrea

12.3N 40.7E

June 10th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms

Ethiopia - June 9th, 2012

Dust blows across the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait (upper right), over Eritrea (by the coast) and over Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, it is hemmed in and funneled southwards by the mountains bordering the Afar Region. The name of the funnel-shaped area is the Afar Depression or Afar Triangle, a geological depression that is caused by the Afar Triple Junction which is part of the Great Rift Valley. It overlaps Eritrea, Djibouti and the entire Afar Region of Ethiopia. Visible near the left edge, unaffected by the dust, is the green Lake Tana.

Lakes Turkana and Kyoga and Mount Elgon, Uganda and Kenya – December 31st, 2011

3.6N 36.0E

December 31st, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Volcanoes

Uganda and Kenya - December 29th, 2011

The image focuses on Lake Turkana, formerly known as Lake Rudolf, is a lake in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. Here, sediments and algal growth turn the lake’s color from tan in the north to green and then a dark, bluish green in the south.

It is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the world’s largest alkaline lake. The rocks of the surrounding area are predominantly volcanic. Central Island is an active volcano, emitting vapors. Outcrops and rocky shores are found on the East and South shores of the lake, while dunes, spits and flats are on the West and North, at a lower elevation.

Visible at the bottom edge of the image are Lake Kyoga, a large shallow lake complex of Uganda, and Mount Elgon, an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya. It is the oldest and largest solitary volcano in East Africa, covering an area of around 3500 kmĀ². Lake Kyoga has an area of about 1,720 km2. The Victoria Nile flows through the lake on its way from Lake Victoria to Lake Albert.