Concept &
Institutions &
Virtual tour
Events &
english | deutsch

The East African Rift

The East African Rift is one of the most remarkable geomorphological features on Earth and the most impressive continental-scale geological structure in Africa (Figure). The East African Rift consists of an eastern and a western branch. The eastern branch is characterized by pronounced volcanic activity and the development of a broad regional topographical dome with elevations of 2 km within the rift and 3 - 4 km at the rift flanks (the volcanoes of Mt. Kenia and Kilimanjaro reach altitudes higher than 5 km). The western branch is volcanically less active and there is less regional uplift. However, the highest uplifted basement block in the East African Rift developed in the western branch, i.e. the Rwenzori Mountains in the Albertine Rift with the highest peak at 5119 m. Rift-flank uplift in the Albertine Rift is pronounced with altitudes of 2.5 - 3.0 km, especially along the western rift flanks of Lake Albert and of Lake Edward. The western branch has the greatest absolute rift subsidence in Africa, which is manifest by a number of deep rift lakes.

Eastern and western rift branch of the East African Rift Eastern and western rift branch of the East African Rift. The rift developed in Proterozoic mobile belts and wraps around the Archaen Tanzania craton. The western branch is characterized by deep rift lakes.