chapter  2
10 Pages

Africa’s Great Volcanoes of the Albertine Rift Valley

ByA. K. Sanga-Ngoie

Virunga National Park The Albertine Rift Valley is the western branch of the Great Rift Valley, the 6000km-long tectonic fault stretching from Lebanon (Middle East) through the Red Sea and the Ethiopian highlands to Malawi, along which the African continent is being torn apart (Figure 2.1). The Albertine Rift Valley is the locus of the following African Great Lakes: Albert, Rutanzige (ex-Edward), Kivu and Tanganyika. Two big mountain ranges stand like huge stumbling blocks across the northern part of this rift valley: the Ruwenzori between Lake Albert and Lake Rutanzige, and the Virunga between Lake Rutanzige and Lake Kivu. The latter range is the natural divide between two great river basins: the River Nile (6700km) and the Congo River (4700km). Lakes Albert and Rutanzige are part of the River Nile basin, while Lakes Kivu and Tanganyika are within the Congo River Basin (Diallo, 1975; Boaz et al, 1992; Charlier, 1998; Saundry, 2009).