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Posts tagged East African Rift

Volcanic Features Near Lake Kivu, DRC and Rwanda – June 20th, 2012

1.9S 29.1E

June 20th, 2012 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Volcanoes

Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda - January 9th, 2012

This wide-swath ASAR image shows volcanic features around Lake Kivu, one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift.

Visible as a bright white area on the northern shores of the lake, are the cities of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Gisenyi, in Rwandu. Goma lies only 18 km due south of the crater of the active Nyiragongo Volcano.

Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The main crater is about two km wide and usually contains a lava lake.

Lake Turkana in Kenyan Rift Valley

3.6N 36.0E

January 5th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Kenya and Ethiopia - December 25th, 2011

Lake Turkana is located in the Kenyan Rift Valley, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the world’s largest alkaline lake. Three rivers (the Omo, Turkwel and Kerio) flow into the lake, but lacking outflow its only water loss is by evaporation. Here, sediments give the northern part of the lake a tan color, while the rest changes from light to dark green due to different concentrations of sediments and algae.

Lake Turkana is an East African Rift feature. A rift is a weak place in the Earth’s crust due to the separation of two tectonic plates, often accompanied by a graben, or trough, in which lake water can collect. The rift began when East Africa, impelled by currents in the mantle, began separating from the rest of Africa, moving to the northeast. Currently the graben is 320 km wide in the north of the lake, 170 km in the south.

Sediments in Southern, Swampy Section of Lake Albert, Uganda and DRC

1.7N 30.9E

January 4th, 2012 Category: Lakes

Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo - December 25th, 2011

Lake Albert – also Albert Nyanza and formerly Lake Mobutu Sese Seko – is one of the African Great Lakes. It is Africa’s seventh-largest lake, and the world’s twenty-seventh largest lake by volume. Lake Albert is located in the center of the continent, on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Lake Albert is the northernmost of the chain of lakes in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. It is about 160 km (100 mi) long and 30 km (19 mi) wide, with a maximum depth of 51 m (168 ft), and a surface elevation of 619 m (2,030 ft) above sea level.

Lake Albert is part of the complicated system of the upper Nile. Its main sources are the Victoria Nile, ultimately coming from Lake Victoria to the southeast, and the Semliki River, which issues from Lake Edward to the southwest. The water of the Victoria Nile is much less saline than that of Lake Albert. Its outlet, at the northernmost tip of the lake, is the Albert Nile (which becomes known as the Mountain Nile when it enters South Sudan).

At the southern end of the lake, where the Semliki comes in, there are swamps. Here, sediments can be seen tinging the waters in this section of the lake. Farther south loom the mighty Ruwenzori Range, while a range of hills called the Blue Mountains tower over the northwestern shore. The few settlements along the shore include Butiaba and Pakwach.

Mountainous Walls Around Lake Tanganyika, Eastern Africa

6.5S 29.6E

October 6th, 2011 Category: Lakes

Lake Tanganyika - October 3rd, 2011

This APM image shows the northern part of Lake Tanganyika, a rift lake shared by Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zambia.

The lake is situated within the Western Rift of the geographic feature known as the Great Rift Valley formed by the tectonic East African Rift, and is confined by the mountainous walls of the valley. It is the largest rift lake in Africa and the second largest lake by volume in the world.

Lake Turkana, an East African Rift Feature in Kenya and Ethiopia

3.6N 36.0E

March 25th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Volcanoes

Kenya and Ethiopia - March 5th, 2010

Kenya and Ethiopia - March 5th, 2010

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. It is the largest permanent desert lake in the world and also the world’s largest alkaline lake.

The rocks of the surrounding area are predominantly volcanic. Central Island (visible in the center of the lake upon opening the full image) 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.

The lake is an East African Rift feature. A rift is a weak place in the Earth’s crust due to the separation of two tectonic plates, often accompanied by a graben, or trough, in which lake water can collect. Currently the graben is 320 km wide in the north of the lake, 170 km in the south.

The visible tectonic features of the region result from extensive extrusions of basalt over the Turkana-Omo basin in the window 4.18-3.99 mya. These are called the Gombe Group Basalts. They are subdivided into the Mursi Basalts and the Gombi Basalts.

The two latter basalts are identified as the outcrops that are the rocky mountains and badlands around the lake.  Short-term fluctuations in lake level combined with periodic volcanic ash spewings over the region have resulted in a fortuitous layering of the ground cover over the basal rocks.

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