Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley

I was recently reading some of Yahoo Travel's articles and one in particular caught my eye. The heading read; 10 new Earthly wonders and among the wonders number three (3) was a stunner! The Kenyan Lake system in the Great Rift Valley!

"Set in Kenya's Great Rift Valley region, the area around three inter-connected shallow lakes—Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita is home to a stunning arena of bird and mammal life. The Great Rift Valley is considered the most important foraging site in the world for the lesser flamingo (the smallest species of flamingo at 3 feet tall)—countless of which can be spotted there—and it's also a top nesting and breeding ground for great white pelicans. Black rhino, lions, Rothschild's giraffe, greater kudu and cheetahs quench their thirst at the lakes." written by Sandra Ramani  

The facts:
About 20 million years ago, the earth's crust weakened and tore itself apart creating a jagged rift, thousands of kilometres long, across the African continent. The land on either side erupted creating great volcanic mountains, while the valley floor gradually sank into a low flat plain. This geologic phenomena, dubbed the Great Rift Valley by the Scottish explorer John Walter Gregory, divides Kenya neatly down the length of the country essentially separating east from west. Subterranean movement is common today as the Rift Valley is home to thirty active and semi-active volcanoes and countless hot springs along its length. 

This string of alkaline lakes and boiling springs northwest of Nairobi includes Lake Baringo, Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru, Lake Elementaita, Lake Naivasha, and Lake Magadi in the south. These lakes are unique because their water is highly concentrated sodium carbonate

This is caused by the high alkalinity from the surrounding volcanic rocks coupled with poor drainage outlets due to the steep sides of the valley. The high evaporation of the surface lake water results in sodium carbonate which creates an ideal breeding ground for algae that serves as an attraction for several species of fish, in particular tilapia. In turn millions of birds flock to the soda lakes to feast on the abundant food supply of algae and fish.

Library: yahoo travel & jambokenya.com

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