The ALBERTINE RIFT is the western branch of the
East African Rift
East African Rift ,
covering parts of
Uganda , the
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC),
Tanzania . It extends from the northern end of
Lake Albert to the southern end of
Lake Tanganyika . The geographical
term includes the valley and the surrounding mountains.
* 1 Geology
* 2 Lakes and rivers
* 3 Mountains
* 4 Ecology
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 Sources
Map of the region showing the
Albertine Rift to the west
Albertine Rift and the mountains are the result of tectonic
movements that are gradually splitting the
Somali Plate away from the
rest of the African continent. The mountains surrounding the rift are
composed of uplifted
Pre-Cambrian basement rocks , overlaid in parts
by recent volcanic rocks .
LAKES AND RIVERS
The northern part of the rift is crossed by two large mountain
Rwenzori Mountains between Lake Albert and Lake Rutanzige
(formerly Lake Edward) and the
Virunga Mountains between Lake
Lake Kivu . The Virungas form a barrier between the Nile
Basin to the north and east and the Congo Basin to the west and south.
Lake Rutenzige is fed by several large rivers, the Rutshuru River
being one, and drains to the north through the
Semliki River into Lake
Albert. The Victoria Nile flows from
Lake Victoria into the northern
end of Lake Albert and exits as the
White Nile from a point slightly
to the west, flowing north to the Mediterranean.
South of the Virungu,
Lake Kivu drains to the south into Lake
Tanganyika through the
Ruzizi River .
Lake Tanganyika then drains into
Congo River via the
Lukuga River . It seems likely that the
present hydrological system was established quite recently when the
Virunga volcanoes erupted and blocked the northward flow of water from
Lake Kivu into
Lake Edward , causing it instead to discharge southward
into Lake Tanganyika. Before that Lake Tanganyika, or separate
sub-basins in what is now the lake, may have had no outlet other than
evaporation. The Lukuga has formed relatively recently, providing a
route through which aquatic species of the Congo Basin could colonize
Lake Tanganyika, which formerly had distinct fauna.
Mount Stanley in the Rwenzori range. With an elevation of 5,109
m (16,763 ft), it is the tallest mountain in the
Albertine Rift and
the third tallest in Africa.
From north to south the mountains include the Lendu Plateau ,
Rwenzori Mountains ,
Virunga Mountains and
Itombwe Mountains . The
Ruwenzori mountains have been identified with Ptolemy's "Mountains of
the Moon". The range covers an area 120 kilometres (75 mi) long and 65
kilometres (40 mi) wide. This range includes
Mount Stanley at 5,119
metres (16,795 ft),
Mount Speke at 4,890 metres (16,040 ft) and Mount
Baker at 4,843 metres (15,889 ft). The Virunga Massif along the
Rwanda and the DRC consists of eight volcanoes. Two of
Nyiragongo , are still highly active.
Isolated mountain blocks further to the south include Mount Bururi in
southern Burundi, the Kungwe-Mahale Mountains in western Tanzania, and
Mount Kabobo and the
Marungu Mountains in the DRC on the shores of
Lake Tanganyika . Most of the massifs rise to between 2,000 metres
(6,600 ft) and 3,500 metres (11,500 ft).
Albertine Rift montane forests
Albertine Rift montane forests are important eco-regions.
Transitional forests, intermediate between lowland and montane forest,
are found at elevations from around 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) to 1,750
metres (5,740 ft). Montane forest covers the slopes from around 1,600
metres (5,200 ft) to 3,500 metres (11,500 ft). Above 2,400 metres
(7,900 ft) there are areas of bamboo and elfin forest. Heather and
grasses predominate above 3,500 metres (11,500 ft). The ecology is
threatened by deforestation as a growing population seeks new
farmland. Illegal timber extraction is another problem, and artisanal
gold mining causes some local damage.
Mukura Forest Reserve
* ^ Owiunji & Plumptre 2011 , p. 164.
* ^ A B Erfurt-Cooper & Cooper 2010 , p. 35-36.
* ^ Clark 1969 , p. 35.
* ^ Hughes & Hughes 1992 , p. 562.
* ^ A B C WWF .
* ^ Erfurt-Cooper & Cooper 2010 , p. 37.
* ^ Erfurt-Cooper -webkit-column-width: 24em; column-width: 24em;">
* Birdlife. "
Albertine Rift mountains". Birdlife International.
* Clark, John Desmond (1969). Kalambo Falls prehistoric site, Volume
1. CUP Archive.
* Erfurt-Cooper, Patricia; Cooper, Malcolm (2010). Volcano and
Geothermal Tourism: Sustainable Geo-Resources for Leisure and
Recreation. Earthscan. ISBN 1-84407-870-1 .
* Hughes, R. H.; Hughes, J. S. (1992). A directory of African
wetlands. IUCN. ISBN 2-88032-949-3 .
* Owiunji, I.; Plumptre, A.J. (2011). "The importance of cloud
forest sites in the conservation of endemic and threatened species of
the Albertine Rift". Tropical Montane Cloud Forests: Science for
Conservation and Management. Cambridge University Press. ISBN
Albertine Rift montane forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World
Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 2