East African Plateau.

East African Plateau is located to the southwest of the "Horn of Africa" ​​- the Somali peninsula, south of the Ethiopian highlands.The relief of this vast territory is strongly dissected.Here, the highest mountain peaks are combined with deep valleys of the Great Rift Valley.The movement of the earth's crust is accompanied by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.Almost the whole area is in the subequatorial climate zone.

East African highlands: studies in the XIX century

elevated part of the continent for many centuries has been poorly studied.Although an array of Kilimanjaro on the cards dealt another Ptolemy (II-III century BC).Reported snow-covered mountain peak near the equator sailors and merchants in the Middle Ages.Colonial fragmentation hindered systematic study of the area.

originally part of the territory, which is the highest peak in Africa, owned by the UK.There is a version that in 1889 Queen Victoria gave the German Emperor Wilhelm II (his nephew), the largest dormant volcano in Africa - Kilimanjaro.Up until 1918 was common in Europe, also known as its cone - "Peak Kaiser Wilhelm."Scientific elite has expressed interest in the study of this area in the last decades of the XIX century, when the German climbed Kibo Hans Meyer.Since then, not dried up the flow of scientists and tourists wishing to see the giant volcanoes, picturesque lakes, unusual corners of nature.In Tanzania, Kenya and other East African countries to develop tourism brings income.

The geological structure of East Africa

In contrast to Asia and America, in this part of the world do not have extensive ranges of folded mountains, due to the geologic history and structure of the crust.The most raised above the level of the oceans, and the fragmented mobile unit - the East African Plateau.The height of most of the territory - from 500 to 1500 m. The foundation made up of ancient crystalline and metamorphic rocks, their age - more than 2 billion. Years.At the base is the Precambrian platform Shard pramaterika Gondwana.On the surface formed sedimentary cover.The Cenozoic era here there were significant shifts of the earth's crust, and in the last stage of mountain building there is the greatest in the world of Rift Valley and rises.

absolute height of the East African highlands over 1000 m. The whole territory is characterized by high seismic activity, earthquakes, volcanic activity is observed modern.The total length of the most significant tectonic disturbances on the planet from north to south more than 6,000 kilometers.The faults are coming from Asia Minor to the bottom of the Red Sea.In Africa, they start in the northeast Danakil depression, and ends in the south near the mouth of the river.Zambezi.

Geographical location

High Plains - East African plateau - on a map occupies a vast area of ​​the continent, which is in the northern part crosses the equator.To the west is the Congo Basin.

Length of the Ethiopian highlands to Lake Niassa (north-south) is 1750 km.From the western edge of the Indian Ocean to the coast -1400 km.The area of ​​the plateau is located east of the Rwenzori Mountains and the Virunga massif.The highest peaks are cones and coexist with deep tectonic faults, cavities.In this area there are sources and watersheds of major rivers in Africa (Congo, Nile, Zambezi).The territory belongs to the different states of the continent: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi.

Features relief natural area

main summit of the East African plateau - is active and dormant volcanoes:

  • Kilimanjaro (5895 m);
  • Kenya (5199 m);
  • Meru (4565 m);
  • Elgon (4320 meters).

continent's highest mountain - Kilimanjaro, it is located in Tanzania.Local people call it "White Mountain", "House of God, bearing the cold."Shining white snow and glaciers of Kilimanjaro can be seen for hundreds of kilometers.Dome of the mountain consists of three peaks: central - Kibo (5696 m), east - Mawenzi (5149 m), the western - Shira (3962 m).East African Plateau has considerable reserves of drinking water.The vast tectonic depression is shallow (80 m) basin of Lake Victoria - the largest on the continent and the second largest freshwater reservoir in the world.Its height above sea level is 1134 m. In this area there are other containers of fresh water - Lake Tanganyika, Rudolph, Edward, alpine glaciers.


In Eastern Africa, the crystal structures are close to the surface, making it easier to prospecting, exploration and mining of metal ores, precious stones.As part of the various forms of relief is dominated not only the oldest rocks.There are young sedimentary and volcanic formations.That part of the continent, where the East African Plateau, rich igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary rocks, minerals.A list of extracted minerals:

  • iron, tin and polymetallic ores;
  • precious (gold) and rare metals;
  • diamond deposits:
  • gemstone tanzanite;
  • coal;
  • fluorite.

Variety nature of the East African highlands

climate of this area is influenced by the mainland equatorial and tropical air masses, forming seasons - wet and dry.At the foot of the volcano, facing the Indian Ocean, precipitation is more than the western slopes.East African plateau - a plateau and plain, which is dominated by savannas and woodlands.Plantation crops extend to a height of 1800 m. Typical plants - grasses, bushes, baobabs single, umbrella acacia and other trees.In the animal kingdom of East Africa is dominated by herbivorous ungulates, carnivores, water birds.

In savannas rise buildings termites are common snakes, lizards, tortoises.In the north of Tanzania stretches a vast volcanic highlands and the world-famous Crater (Caldara) Ngorongoro diameter of 22 km.On its bottom - Lake Magadi, savannah biosphere reserve of the same name.In this part of the continent (to the west of the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands) is located Olduvai Gorge, which found the remains of ancient human, who lived 2 million. Years ago, the skeletons of the animals killed by them, primitive stone axes and scrapers.

volcanoes and savannas of Africa attracted a large number of tourists from all over the world.The largest flow is entering the period from June to September.For the study and preservation of all varieties of nature, ecotourism in the East African plateau created large national parks and reserves.