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Ethiopian Rift Valley Lakes

8.0N 38.8E

June 13th, 2009 Category: Lakes

Ethiopia - June 3rd, 2009

Ethiopia - June 3rd, 2009

The Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes are the northernmost of the African Rift Valley lakes. Most of these do not have an outlet, and most are alkaline.

In central Ethiopia the Great Rift Valley splits the Ethiopian highlands into northern and southern halves, and the Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes occupy the floor of the rift valley between the two highlands.

At the top is Lake Koka, with a surface area of 250 km² at an elevation of 1590 m. The large green lake below it is Lake Zway, a freshwater lake of 485 km² at an elevation of 1636 m.

The brown lake below is Lake Langano, at an elevation of 1,585 meters and with a surface area of 230 square kilometers. Though its brown color may make it appear less inviting, it is free of Bilharzia (schistosomiasis), unlike all other freshwater lakes in Ethiopia, making it popular for swimming.

To its left is Lake Abijatta, with a surface area of 205 km², at an elevation of 1573 m. Along the northeastern corner of this lake are a number of hot springs.

Continuing south, the large dark body of water is Shala Lake. It has a surface area of 409 square kilometers, a maximum depth of 250 meters and an elevation of 1,567 meters. It is known for the sulphur springs on the lake bed and is surrounded by hot springs filled with boiling water.

Finally, the southernmost lake visible here is Lake Awasa, an endorheic basin with a surface area of 129 square kilometers. Despite its lack of an outflow, it is essentially a freshwater lake, indicating that it must have a subterranean outlet.

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