Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Overview

Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones
Volcanic cone
Volcanic cones are among the simplest volcanic formations. They are built by ejecta from a volcanic vent, piling up around the vent in the shape of a cone with a central crater. Volcanic cones are of different types, depending upon the nature and size of the fragments ejected during the eruption...

, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is a dormant volcano in Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park is a national park, located 200 miles south of the equater near Moshi, Tanzania. It is centered on Mount Kilimanjaro, and covers an area of from 2°45'–3°25'S, 37°00'–37°43'E....

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 and the highest mountain in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 at 5895 metres or 19,341 ft above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 (the Uhuru Peak/Kibo Peak).

Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo 5895 m (19,341 ft); Mawenzi 5149 m (16,893 ft); and Shira 3962 m (12,998.7 ft).
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Mount Kilimanjaro'
Start a new discussion about 'Mount Kilimanjaro'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia

Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones
Volcanic cone
Volcanic cones are among the simplest volcanic formations. They are built by ejecta from a volcanic vent, piling up around the vent in the shape of a cone with a central crater. Volcanic cones are of different types, depending upon the nature and size of the fragments ejected during the eruption...

, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is a dormant volcano in Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park is a national park, located 200 miles south of the equater near Moshi, Tanzania. It is centered on Mount Kilimanjaro, and covers an area of from 2°45'–3°25'S, 37°00'–37°43'E....

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 and the highest mountain in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 at 5895 metres or 19,341 ft above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 (the Uhuru Peak/Kibo Peak).

Geology


Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo 5895 m (19,341 ft); Mawenzi 5149 m (16,893 ft); and Shira 3962 m (12,998.7 ft). Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim.

Kilimanjaro is a giant stratovolcano
Stratovolcano
A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions...

 that began forming a million years ago, when lava spilled from the Rift Valley
East African Rift
The East African Rift is an active continental rift zone in eastern Africa that appears to be a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary. It is part of the larger Great Rift Valley. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two new tectonic plates...

 zone. Two of its three peaks, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct while Kibo (the highest peak) is dormant and could erupt again. The last major eruption has been dated to 360,000 years ago, while the most recent activity was recorded just 200 years ago.

Although it is dormant, Kibo has fumarole
Fumarole
A fumarole is an opening in a planet's crust, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen sulfide. The steam is created when superheated water turns to steam as its pressure drops when it emerges from...

s that emit gas in the crater. Scientists concluded in 2003 that molten magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 is just 400 m (1,312.3 ft) below the summit crater
Volcanic crater
A volcanic crater is a circular depression in the ground caused by volcanic activity. It is typically a basin, circular in form within which occurs a vent from which magma erupts as gases, lava, and ejecta. A crater can be of large dimensions, and sometimes of great depth...

. Several collapses and landslides have occurred on Kibo in the past, one creating the area known as the Western Breach
Western Breach
As its name suggests, the Western Breach is a gap, formed by lava flow,on the western outer rim of Mount Kilimanjaro's main summit, Kibo.The Western Breach offers one of the shortestclimbing routes to the summit....

.

Name


It is unknown where the name Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro Region
Kilimanjaro is one of the 26 regions in Tanzania. The capital of the region is Moshi. Kilimanjaro region is home to Mount Kilimanjaro.Kilimanjaro Region is bordered to the North and East by Kenya, to the South by the Tanga Region, to the Southwest by the Manyara Region, and to the West by the...

originates, but a number of theories exist. European explorers had adopted the name by 1860 and reported that it was its Swahili name, with Kilimanjaro breaking into Kilima (Swahili for "hill, little mountain") and Njaro, whose supposed origin varies according to the theories—according to some it is an ancient Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

 word for white or for shining, or for the non-Swahili origin, a word from the Kichagga language
Kichagga language
Chaga, also Kichaga or Kichagga, is a Bantu dialect continuum spoken by the Chaga people of Tanzania, South of Mount Kilimanjaro.Recognized Chaga languages are,...

, the word jaro meaning "caravan". The problem with all these is that they cannot explain why the diminutive
Diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

 kilima is used instead of the proper word for mountain, mlima. The name might be a local joke, referring to the "little hill of the Njaro" being the biggest mountain on the African continent, since this is a nearby town, and guides recount that it is the Hill of the Njaro people. A different approach is to assume that it comes from the Kichagga kilmanare or kileajao meaning "which defeats the bird/leopard/caravan". However this theory cannot explain the fact that Kilimanjaro was never used in Kichagga before in Europe in the mid-19th century.

An alternative theory is as follows: On November 10, 1848, the German missionary Rebmann wrote in his diary:"This morning we discerned the Mountains of Jagga more distinctly than ever." Jagga was the pronunciation of Chagga by Europeans. Kilimanjaro may also be the European pronunciation of the Chagga phrase that "Kile-lema-irho", meaning "we failed to climb it" in Kiuru, Kioldimoshi, Kimarangu, Kivunjo, Kikibosho, Kimachame and Kirombo, Kichagga in general. If so, name itself, Kile-lema-irho/Kilimanjaro, would have been the Chagga way of explaining to kyasaka (newcomers) when they asked about the shining mountain top of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. Kibo peak is more visible from the Kibosho Area, and Mawenzi from Maranu.

The Ki- prefix in Swahili has several underlying meanings. The old Ka- diminutive noun prefix (found now only as Kadogo - a small degree), merged with the Ki class. One of its meanings was to also describe something unique of its kind: Kilima, a single peak, as opposed to Mlima, which would better describe a mountain range or undulating country. Several other mountains also bear this prefix, such as Kilima Mbogo (Buffalo Mountain), just north of Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

 in Kenya. People with disabilities are also placed in this class, not so much as a diminutive idea; but a unique condition they possess: a blind or a deaf person, Kipofu and Kiziwi. This prefix "Ki-" in no way implies a derogatory sense. The name Kibo in Kichagga means "spotted" and refers to rocks seen on snowfields.

In the 1880s, the mountain, at that time spelled Kilima-Ndscharo in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 following the Swahili name components, became a part of German East Africa
German East Africa
German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....

 after Karl Peters
Karl Peters
Karl Peters , was a German colonial ruler, explorer, politician and author, the prime mover behind the foundation of the German colony of East Africa...

 had persuaded local chiefs to sign treaties (a common story
Urban legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

 that Queen Victoria gave the mountain to her grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II is not true). When in 1889 Hans Meyer
Hans Meyer (geologist)
Hans Heinrich Josef Meyer was a German geographer from Hildburghausen, who was the son of publisher Herrmann Julius Meyer . Hans Meyer is credited with being the first European to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro 5,895 m...

 reached the highest summit on the crater ridge of Kibo, he named it "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze" ("Kaiser Wilhelm peak"). That name was used until 1918, when after World War I the German colonies
German colonial empire
The German colonial empire was an overseas domain formed in the late 19th century as part of the German Empire. Short-lived colonial efforts by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Imperial Germany's colonial efforts began in 1884...

 were handed over to the British empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. When Tanganyika
Tanganyika
Tanganyika , later formally the Republic of Tanganyika, was a sovereign state in East Africa from 1961 to 1964. It was situated between the Indian Ocean and the African Great Lakes of Lake Victoria, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika...

 gained its independence in 1961, this summit was named "Uhuru
Uhuru
Uhuru may refer to:, a Lake Victoria ferry in East Africa*Uhuru , campaigns for and achievement of national independence in Africa especially in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania*Uhuru Kenyatta , Kenyan politician...

 peak", meaning "Freedom peak" in Swahili.

First ascent


In 1861, the German officer Baron Carl Claus von der Decken and the young British geologist Richard Thornton (1838-1863) made a first attempt to climb Kibo , but "got no farther than 8,200 feet" (2,500 meters). In 1862, Von der Decken tried a second time together with Otto Kersten. They reached a height of 14,000 feet (4,280 meters).

In 1887, during his first attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, the German geology professor Hans Meyer
Hans Meyer (geologist)
Hans Heinrich Josef Meyer was a German geographer from Hildburghausen, who was the son of publisher Herrmann Julius Meyer . Hans Meyer is credited with being the first European to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro 5,895 m...

 reached the base of Kibo, but was forced to turn back, not having the equipment necessary to handle the deep snow and ice on Kibo. The following year, Meyer planned another attempt with cartographer Oscar Baumann
Oscar Baumann
Oscar Baumann was an Austrian cartographer with a keen interest in ethnography.He attended classes on natural history and geography at the University of Vienna, and in 1885 was part of an Austrian exploratory expedition of the Congo Basin headed by Oskar Lenz. However, he had to leave the...

, but the mission was aborted due to consequences of the Abushiri Revolt
Abushiri Revolt
The Abushiri Revolt was a so-called insurrection in 1888-1889 by the Arab and Swahili population of the areas of the East African coast which were granted to Germany by the Sultan of Zanzibar in 1888...

. Meyer and Baumann were captured and held hostage, and only escaped after a ten thousand rupees ransom had been paid.

In 1889 Meyer returned to Kilimanjaro with the celebrated Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller
Ludwig Purtscheller
Ludwig Purtscheller was an Austrian mountaineer and teacher.In the late 19th century he was known as the best mountaineer in the Alps, where he had climbed over 1,700 mountains...

 for a third attempt. Their climbing team included two local headmen, nine porters, a cook, and a guide. The success of this attempt, which started on foot from Mombasa
Mombasa
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya. Lying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry....

, was based on the establishment of many campsites with food supplies so that multiple attempts at the top could be made without having to descend too far. After Meyer and Purtscheller pushed to near the crater rim on October 3, exhausted from hacking footsteps in the icy slope, they reached the highest summit on the southern rim of the crater on Purtscheller's 40th birthday, October 6, 1889. They were the first to confirm that Kibo has a crater, which was filled with ice at the time. After descending to the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi, Meyer and Purtscheller attempted to climb the more technically challenging Mawenzi next, but could only reach a 5096 m high subsidiary peak (later to be named Klute Peak) before retreating due to illness. On October 18 they reascended Kibo to enter and study the crater, cresting the rim at Hans Meyers Notch. In total, Meyer and Purtscheller spent 16 days above 4,200 m during their expedition.

The summit of Kibo wouldn't be climbed again until 20 years later (by the surveyor M. Lange in 1909), and the first ascent of the highest (5149 m) summit of Mawenzi was only on July 29, 1912, by the German climbers Edward Oehler and Fritz Klute, who christened it Hans Meyer Peak in Meyer's honor. Oehler and Klute went on to make the third ascent of Kibo, via the Western route over the Drygalski Glacier.

In 1989, the organizing committee of the 100-year celebration of the first ascent decided to award posthumous certificates to the African porter-guides who had accompanied Meyer and Purtscheller. One person in pictures or documents of the 1889 expedition was thought to match a living inhabitant of Marangu
Marangu
Located in Kilimanjaro Region. Before Independence in 1961, Marangu used to be the headquarters of the Vunjo district led by Chief Petro Itosi Marealle and Paramount Chief Thomas Marealle, installed in 1951, who lived in Moshi itself. It is the centre of tourist trade, especially for climbers...

, Yohani Kinyala Lauwo. Lauwo did not know his own age nor did he remember Meyer or Purtscheller, but he remembered joining a Kilimanjaro expedition involving a Dutch doctor who lived near the mountain and not wearing shoes during the 8-day affair. Lauwo claimed that he had climbed the mountain 3 times before World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The committee concluded that he had been a member of Meyer's team and therefore must have been born around 1871. Lauwo died on 10 May 1996 at the thus reconstructed world-record age of 124 or 125 and is now even often suggested as co-first-ascendant of Kilimanjaro.

Mapping


Early maps of Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro Region
Kilimanjaro is one of the 26 regions in Tanzania. The capital of the region is Moshi. Kilimanjaro region is home to Mount Kilimanjaro.Kilimanjaro Region is bordered to the North and East by Kenya, to the South by the Tanga Region, to the Southwest by the Manyara Region, and to the West by the...

 were published by the British Government's Directorate of Overseas Surveys (DOS 422 Y742) in 1963. These were based on air photography carried out as early as 1959 by the RAF. These were on a scale of 1:50,000 with contours at 100 ft intervals. These are now unavailable. Tourist mapping was first published by the Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

 in England in 1989 based on the original DOS mapping (1:100,000, 100 ft intervals, DOS 522). This is also no longer available. EWP produced a map with tourist information in 1990 (1:75,000, 100 m contour intervals, inset maps of Kibo and Mawenzi on 1:20,000 and 1:30,000 scales respectively and 50 m contour interval). In the last few years, numerous other maps have become available of various qualities. 3D route maps are also available online.

Trekking Kilimanjaro



There are six official trekking routes by which to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, namely: Marangu, Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, Umbwe and Machame. Of all the routes, Machame is by far the most scenic albeit steeper route up the mountain, which can be done in six or seven days. The Rongai is the easiest and least scenic of all camping routes with the most difficult summit night and the Marangu is also relatively easy, but accommodation is in shared huts with all other climbers. As a result, this route tends to be very busy, and ascent and descent routes are the same.

People who wish to trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro are advised to undertake appropriate research and ensure that they are both properly equipped and physically capable. Though the climb is technically not as challenging as when climbing the high peaks of the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 or Andes, the high elevation, low temperature, and occasional high winds make this a difficult and dangerous trek. Acclimatisation is essential, and even then most experienced trekkers suffer some degree of altitude sickness
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness , altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude...

. Kilimanjaro summit is well above the altitude at which high altitude pulmonary edema
High Altitude Pulmonary Edema
High altitude pulmonary edema is a life-threatening form of non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema that occurs in otherwise healthy mountaineers at altitudes typically above ....

 (HAPE), or high altitude cerebral edema
High altitude cerebral edema
High altitude cerebral edema is a severe form of altitude sickness. HACE is the result of swelling of brain tissue from fluid leakage and almost always begins as acute mountain sickness...

 (HACE) can occur. All trekkers will suffer considerable discomfort, typically shortage of breath, hypothermia and headaches.

High-altitude climbing clubs - citing safe ascent rate suggestions offered by organisations such as the Royal Geographical Society - have criticised the Tanzanian authorities for charging fees for each day spent on the mountain. It was once argued that this fee structure encouraged trekkers to climb rapidly to save time and money, while proper acclimatisation demands that delays are built in to any high climb. However, in response to this accusation, Tanzania National Parks Authority several years ago mandated minimum climb durations for each route. These regulations prohibit climbs of fewer than five days on the Marangu Route, and ensure a minimum of six days for the other five sanctioned routes. These minimums - particularly in the case of Marangu, which ostensibly allows that Uhuru Peak (5,895m) can be reached from a starting elevation at 1,860m within 72 hours of beginning the ascent - are reckoned by most alpinists to allow an ascent rate that will usually result in the climber failing to acclimatize adequately, by the time that Kibo Huts are reached; the launch base from which the summit is assaulted. Consequently, the incidence of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is widely deemed to be unacceptably high on Kilimanjaro, with high volumes of fit young people succumbing to the condition, having opted for a relatively rapid ascent. As a general rule, it is far safer (and more enjoyable) to avoid altitude sickness by planning a sensible itinerary that allows for gradual acclimatisation to high elevation as one ascends. Operations that typically see in excess of a thousand climbers summitting annually and are best placed to identify such patterns, usually posit that an optimal climb length should last around seven to eight days.

Tanzanian Medical Services around the mountain have expressed concern recently over the current influx of tourists that apparently perceive Kilimanjaro as an easy walk. However this is not the case. Many individuals require significant attention during their attempts, and many are forced to abandon the trek. An investigation into the matter concluded that tourists visiting Tanzania were often encouraged to join groups heading up the mountain without being made aware of the significant physical demands of the climb, although many outfitters and tour operators flaunt high success rates for reaching the summit. The Kilimanjaro National Park shows that only 30% of trekkers actually reach the Uhuru summit with the majority turning around at Gilman’s Point, 300 metres (980 feet) short of Uhuru, or Stella Point, 200 (660 feet) meters short of Uhuru. Kilimanjaro is often underestimated because it can be walked and is not a technical climb. However, many mountaineers consider Kilimanjaro very physically demanding.

Some estimate that more people have died to date trekking up Kilimanjaro than Mount Everest but Everest is attempted by significantly fewer climbers. In August 2007 four trekkers died within a week underscoring the point that trekking to the summit should not be taken casually. Multiple people (trekkers, porters, and guides) die on the mountain each year. The majority of these deaths are porters, from hypothermia. Trekkers fall on steep portions of the mountain, and rock slides have killed trekkers. For this reason, the route via the Arrow Glacier was closed for several years. It re-opened in December 2007, but the park officials advise against taking that route and tell trekkers that they can climb, but at their own risk. When attempting the Arrow Glacier route, trekkers must leave early in the morning and make it past the rock face before mid-afternoon as when the sun comes out, unfrozen rock slides become quite common.

Unique vegetation


Being an Afromontane
Afromontane
Afromontane is a term used to describe the Afrotropic subregion and its plant and animal species common to the mountains of Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula...

 sky island
Sky island
Sky islands are mountains that are isolated by surrounding lowlands of a dramatically different environment, a situation which, in combination with the altitudinal zonation of ecosystems, has significant implications for natural habitats. Endemism, vertical migration, and relict populations are...

, Kilimanjaro has an enormous biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

 while low in endemic species. However endemics include the giant groundsels
Dendrosenecio
Dendrosenecio is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Asteraceae. It is a segregate of Senecio, in which it formed the subgenus Dendrosenecio...

 in the bunchgrass tussock grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

s, and other flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 adapted to living in alpine plant
Alpine plant
Alpine plants are plants that grow in the alpine climate, which occurs at high elevation and above the tree line. Alpine plants grow together as a plant community in alpine tundra.-Alpine plant diversity:...

 conditions.

Kilimanjaro has a large variety of forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

 types over an altitudinal range of 3000 m (9,843 ft) containing over 1,200 vascular plant species. Montane
Montane
In biogeography, montane is the highland area located below the subalpine zone. Montane regions generally have cooler temperatures and often have higher rainfall than the adjacent lowland regions, and are frequently home to distinct communities of plants and animals.The term "montane" means "of the...

 Ocotea
Ocotea
Ocotea is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Lauraceae. The genus includes over 200 species of evergreen trees and shrubs, distributed mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America, the West Indies, also with a few species in Africa and Madagascar, and...

 forests occur on the wet southern slope. Cassipourea
Cassipourea
Cassipourea is a genus of plant in family Rhizophoraceae.Species include:* Cassipourea acuminata, Liben* Cassipourea brittoniana, Fawc. & Rendle* Cassipourea eketensis, Baker f.* Cassipourea fanshawei, Torre & Goncalves...

 and Juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

us forests grow on the dry northern slope. Subalpine
Subalpine
The subalpine zone is the biotic zone immediately below tree line around the world. Species that occur in this zone depend on the location of the zone on the Earth, for example, Snow Gum in Australia, or Subalpine Larch, Mountain Hemlock and Subalpine Fir in western North America.Trees in the...

 Erica
Erica
Erica ,the heaths or heathers, is a genus of approximately 860 species of flowering plants in the family Ericaceae. The English common names "heath" and "heather" are shared by some closely related genera of similar appearance....

 forests at 4100 m (13,451 ft) represent the highest elevation cloud forest
Cloud forest
A cloud forest, also called a fog forest, is a generally tropical or subtropical evergreen montane moist forest characterized by a persistent, frequent or seasonal low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. Cloud forests often exhibit an abundance of mosses covering the ground and...

s in Africa. In contrast to this enormous biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

, the degree of endemism is low. However, forest relicts in the deepest valleys of the cultivated lower areas suggest that a rich forest flora inhabited Mt Kilimanjaro in the past, with restricted-range species otherwise only known from the Eastern Arc mountains. The low degree of endemism on Kilimanjaro may result from destruction of lower elevation forest rather than the relatively young age of the mountain.

Another feature of the forests of Kilimanjaro is the absence of a bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 zone, which occurs on all other tall mountains in East Africa
East Africa
East Africa or Eastern Africa is the easterly region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. In the UN scheme of geographic regions, 19 territories constitute Eastern Africa:...

 with a similarly high rainfall. Sinarundinaria alpina stands are favoured by elephant
Elephant
Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct...

s and African Buffalo
African Buffalo
The African buffalo, affalo, nyati, Mbogo or Cape buffalo is a large African bovine. It is not closely related to the slightly larger wild Asian water buffalo, but its ancestry remains unclear...

s elsewhere. On Kilimanjaro these megaherbivores
Megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

 occur on the northern slopes, where it is too dry for a large bamboo zone to develop. They are excluded from the wet southern slope forests by topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

 and humans, who have cultivated the foothills for at least 2000  years.

This interplay of biotic and abiotic factors could explain not only the lack of a bamboo zone on Kilimanjaro but also offers possible explanations for the patterns of diversity and endemism. If true, Kilimanjaro's forests would serve as a striking example of the large and long-lasting influence of both animals and humans on the African landscape.

Unusual spotting of animals


A decade ago, a dog was spotted at Baranco Camp (3,960 metres above sea level) and in 2011, a rust-coloured dog was seen at Uhuru peak where temperatures range from minus 4 to 15 degrees Celsius
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

. How it survived in such freezing conditions and what it ate during that time remains a mystery.

Physical features




Kilimanjaro rises from its base, and approximately 5100 m (16,732 ft) from the plains near Moshi
Moshi
Moshi is a Tanzanian town with a population of 144,739 in Kilimanjaro Region. The town is situated on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, a volcanic mountain that is the highest mountain in Africa....

. Kibo is capped by an almost symmetrical cone with scarps rising 180 to 200 m on the south side. These scarps define a 2.5 km wide caldera. Within this caldera is an inner crater, the Reusch Crater. This inner crater was named after Dr. Richard Reusch. The name was conferred by the government of Tanganyika in 1954 at the same time it awarded Reusch a gold medal on having climbed Kilmanjaro for the 25th time. Reusch climbed Kilimanjaro 65 times and helped to establish the exact elevation of the crater. Within the Reusche Crater lies the Ash Pit. The Reusche Crater itself is nearly surrounded by a 400 feet (121.9 m) high dune of volcanic ash.


Kilimanjaro is also notable for presenting the greatest area of the Earth's surface in one view. This is due to its height in combination with the surrounding flatness of the land.

Ice


In the late 1880s the summit of Kibo was completely covered by an ice cap with outlet glaciers cascading down the western and southern slopes, and, except for the inner cone, the entire caldera was buried. Glacier ice flowed also through the Western Breach.

An examination of ice cores taken from the North Ice Field Glacier indicate that the "snows of Kilimanjaro" (aka glaciers) have a basal age of 11,700 years. A continuous ice cap covering approximately 400 square kilometers covered the mountain during the period of maximum glaciation, extending across the summits of Kibo and Mawenzi. The glacial ice survived drought conditions during a three century period beginning ~2200 BCE.

The period from 1912 to present has witnessed the disappearance of more than 80% of the ice cover on Kilimanjaro. From 1912-1953 there was ~1% annual loss, while 1989-2007 saw ~2.5% annual loss. Of the ice cover still present in 2000, 26% had disappeared by 2007. While the current shrinking and thinning of Kilimanjaro's ice fields appears to be unique within its almost twelve millennium history, it is contemporaneous with widespread glacier retreat
Retreat of glaciers since 1850
The retreat of glaciers since 1850 affects the availability of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use, mountain recreation, animals and plants that depend on glacier-melt, and in the longer term, the level of the oceans...

 in mid-to-low latitudes across the globe. Unless trends change, Kilimanjaro is expected to become ice-free some time between 2022 and 2033.

See also

  • Kilimanjaro National Park
    Kilimanjaro National Park
    Kilimanjaro National Park is a national park, located 200 miles south of the equater near Moshi, Tanzania. It is centered on Mount Kilimanjaro, and covers an area of from 2°45'–3°25'S, 37°00'–37°43'E....

  • Kilimanjaro Region
    Kilimanjaro Region
    Kilimanjaro is one of the 26 regions in Tanzania. The capital of the region is Moshi. Kilimanjaro region is home to Mount Kilimanjaro.Kilimanjaro Region is bordered to the North and East by Kenya, to the South by the Tanga Region, to the Southwest by the Manyara Region, and to the West by the...

  • Furtwängler Glacier
    Furtwängler Glacier
    The Furtwängler Glacier is located near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Furtwängler Glacier is a small remnant of an enormous icecap which once crowned the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This icecap has retreated significantly over the past century; between 1912 and 2000, 82 percent of...

  • List of volcanoes in Tanzania
  • Mount Kenya
    Mount Kenya
    Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian , Nelion and Point Lenana . Mount Kenya is located in central Kenya, just south of the equator, around north-northeast of the capital Nairobi...

     - a collapsed stratovolcano
    Stratovolcano
    A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a tall, conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and volcanic ash. Unlike shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes are characterized by a steep profile and periodic, explosive eruptions...

     200 miles (322 km) due north, in Kenya.
  • Rebmann Glacier
    Rebmann Glacier
    The Rebmann Glacier is located near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and is a small remnant of an enormous icecap which once crowned the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. This icecap has retreated significantly over the past century and between 1912 and the 2000, 82 percent of the glacial...


Further reading

  • J. A. Huntchinson, "The Meaning of Kilimanjaro," Tanganyika Notes and Records, 64 (1965), 65-67
  • Dundas, Charles (1924) Kilimanjaro and its People 1st Edition London: Cass.

External links