Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro.jpg
The Kibo summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Highest point
Elevation5,895 m (19,341 ft) [1][2]
Prominence5,885 m (19,308 ft) [3]
Ranked 4th[4]
Isolation5,510 kilometres (3,420 mi)
Coordinates03°04′33″S 37°21′12″E / 03°04′33″S 37°21′12″E / -3.07583; 37.35333
LocationKilimanjaro Region, north east Tanzania
Parent rangeThe Eastern Rift mountains
Topo mapKilimanjaro map and guide by Wielochowski[5]
Age of rock3 million years
Mountain typeStratovolcano
Last eruptionBetween 150,000 and 200,000 years ago
First ascent6 October 1889 by Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller
Easiest routeHiking
Mount Kilimanjaro from space, illustrating its diverse vegetation zones.[6]

Mount Kilimanjaro or just Kilimanjaro ( /),[7] with its three volcanic cones, "Kibo", "Mawenzi", and "Shira", is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, about 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) from its base, and 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level. The first people known to have reached the summit of the mountain were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination. The mountain has been the subject of many scientific studies because of its shrinking glaciers and disappearing ice fields.

Geology and physical features

Kilimanjaro is a large stratovolcano and is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo, the highest; Mawenzi at 5,149 metres (16,893 ft);[8] and Shira, the shortest at 4,005 metres (13,140 ft).[9] Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, while Kibo is dormant and could erupt again.[10]

Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim. The Tanzania National Parks Authority, a Tanzanian governmental agency,[1] and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization[2] list the height of Uhuru Peak as 5,895 m (19,341 ft). That height is based on a British Ordnance Survey in 1952.[11] Since then, the height has been measured as 5,892 metres (19,331 ft) in 1999, 5,891 metres (19,327 ft) in 2008, and 5,888 metres (19,318 ft) in 2014.[11]


The interior of the volcanic edifice is poorly known, given the lack of large scale erosion that could have exposed the interiors of the volcano.[12]

Eruptive activity at the Shira centre commenced about 2.5 million years ago, with the last important phase occurring about 1.9 million years ago, just before the northern part of the edifice collapsed.[10] Shira is topped by a broad plateau at 3,800 metres (12,500 ft), which may be a filled caldera. The remnant caldera rim has been degraded deeply by erosion. Before the caldera formed and erosion began, Shira might have been between 4,900 m (16,000 ft) and 5,200 m (17,000 ft) high. It is mostly composed of basic lavas with some pyroclastics. The formation of the caldera was accompanied by lava emanating from ring fractures, but there was no large scale explosive activity. Two cones formed subsequently, the phonolitic one at the northwest end of the ridge and the doleritic "Platzkegel" in the caldera centre.[10][12][13]

Both Mawenzi and Kibo began erupting about 1 million years ago.[10] They are separated by the "Saddle Plateau" at 4,400 metres (14,400 ft) elevation.[14]:3

Aerial view of Kilimanjaro in December 2009

The youngest dated rocks at Mawenzi are about 448,000 years old.[10] Mawenzi forms a horseshoe shaped ridge with pinnacles and ridges opening to the northeast that has a tower-like shape resulting from deep erosion and a mafic dyke swarm. Several large cirques cut into the ring, the largest of these sits on top of the Great Barranco gorge. Also notable are the Ost and West Barrancos on the northeastern side of the mountain. Most of the eastern side of the mountain has been removed by erosion. Mawenzi has a subsidiary peak named Neumann Tower, 4,425 metres (14,518 ft).[10][12][13]

Kibo is the largest cone and is more than 24 km (15 mi) wide at the "Saddle Plateau" altitude. The last activity here has been dated to between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago and created the current Kibo summit crater. Kibo still has gas-emitting fumaroles in the crater.[10][12][13] Kibo is capped by an almost symmetrical cone with escarpments rising 180 to 200 metres (590 to 660 ft) on the south side. These escarpments define a 2.5-kilometre-wide (1.6 mi) caldera[15] caused by the collapse of the summit. Within this caldera is the Inner Cone and within the crater of the Inner Cone is the Reusch Crater, which the Tanganyika government in 1954 named after Gustav Otto Richard Reusch upon his climbing the mountain for the 25th time (out of 65 attempts during his lifetime).[16][17] The Ash Pit, 350 metres (1,150 ft) deep, lies within the Reusch Crater.[18] About 100,000 years ago, part of Kibo's crater rim collapsed, creating the area known as the Western Breach and the Great Barranco.[19]

An almost continuous layer of lava buries most older geological features, with the exception of exposed strata within the Great West Notch and the Kibo Barranco. The former exposes intrusions of syenite.[12] Kibo has five main lava formations:[10]

  • Phonotephrites and tephriphonolites of the "Lava Tower group", on a dyke cropping out at 4,600 metres (15,100 ft), 482,000 years ago
  • Tephriphonolite to phonolite lavas "characterized by rhomb mega-phenocrysts of sodic feldspars" of the "Rhomb Porphyry group", 460,000–360,000 years ago
  • aphyric phonolite lavas, "commonly underlain by basal obsidian horizons", of the "Lent group", 359,000–337,000 years ago
  • porphyritic tephriphonolite to phonolite lavas of the "Caldera rim group", 274,000–170,000 years ago
  • phonolite lava flows with aegirine phenocrysts, of the "Inner Crater group", which represents the last volcanic activity on Kibo

Kibo has more than 250 parasitic cones on its northwest and southeast flanks that were formed between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago[10] and erupted picrobasalts, trachybasalts, ankaramites, and basanites.[10][12][13] They reach as far as Lake Chala and Taveta in the southeast and the Lengurumani Plain in the northwest. Most of these cones are well preserved, with the exception of the Saddle Plateau cones that were heavily affected by glacial action. Despite their mostly small size, lava from the cones has obscured large portions of the mountain. The Saddle Plateau cones are mostly cinder cones with terminal effusion of lava, while the Upper Rombo Zone cones mostly generated lava flows. All Saddle Plateau cones predate the last glaciation.[12]

According to reports gathered in the 19th century from the Maasai, Lake Chala on Kibo's eastern flank was the site of a village that was destroyed by an eruption.[20]


The mountain is drained by a network of rivers and streams, especially on the wetter and more heavily eroded southern side and especially above 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). Below that altitude, increased evaporation and human water usage reduces the waterflows. The Lumi and Pangani rivers drain Kilimanjaro on the eastern and southern sides, respectively.[21]

Two of Kilimanjaro's volcanic cones: Kibo (left) and Mawenzi (right).
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kilimandjaro
Alemannisch: Kilimandscharo
አማርኛ: ኪሊማንጃሮ
aragonés: Kilimanjaro
azərbaycanca: Kilimancaro
تۆرکجه: کلیمانجارو
Bân-lâm-gú: Kilimanjaro Soaⁿ
башҡортса: Килиманджаро
беларуская: Кіліманджара
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Кіліманджара
български: Килиманджаро
Boarisch: Kilimandscharo
bosanski: Kilimanjaro
brezhoneg: Kilimanjaro
català: Kilimanjaro
čeština: Kilimandžáro
chiShona: Kilimanjaro
Cymraeg: Kilimanjaro
davvisámegiella: Kilimanjaro
Ελληνικά: Κιλιμάντζαρο
español: Kilimanjaro
Esperanto: Kilimanĝaro
euskara: Kilimanjaro
Fiji Hindi: Mount Kilimanjaro
français: Kilimandjaro
Gaeilge: Kilimanjaro
Gàidhlig: Kilimanjaro
galego: Kilimanjaro
Gĩkũyũ: Mount Kilimajaro
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Kilimanjaro Sân
հայերեն: Կիլիմանջարո
हिन्दी: किलिमंजारो
hornjoserbsce: Kilimandźaro
hrvatski: Kilimandžaro
Bahasa Hulontalo: Hu'idu Kilimanjaro
Bahasa Indonesia: Kilimanjaro
interlingua: Monte Kilimanjaro
íslenska: Kilimanjaro
italiano: Kilimangiaro
къарачай-малкъар: Килиманджаро
ქართული: კილიმანჯარო
қазақша: Килиманджаро
kernowek: Kilimanjaro
Кыргызча: Килиманжаро
latviešu: Kilimandžāro
Lëtzebuergesch: Kilimanjaro
lietuvių: Kilimandžaras
Limburgs: Kilimanjaro
Luganda: Kilimanjaro
lumbaart: Kilimanjaro
македонски: Килиманџаро
Malagasy: Kilimanjaro
მარგალური: კილიმანჯარო
Bahasa Melayu: Gunung Kilimanjaro
Nederlands: Kilimanjaro (berg)
нохчийн: Килиманджаро
norsk nynorsk: Kilimanjaro
occitan: Kilimanjaro
олык марий: Килиманджаро
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kilimanjaro
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕਿਲੀਮੰਜਾਰੋ
پنجابی: کلیمنجارو
Picard: Kilimandjaro
Piemontèis: Kilimangiaro
Plattdüütsch: Kilimandscharo
português: Kilimanjaro
română: Kilimanjaro
rumantsch: Kilimandscharo
Runa Simi: Kilimanjaro
русиньскый: Кіліманджаро
русский: Килиманджаро
саха тыла: Килиманджаро
sicilianu: Kilimangiaru
Simple English: Mount Kilimanjaro
slovenčina: Kilimandžáro
slovenščina: Kilimandžaro
ślůnski: Kilimandżaro
Soomaaliga: Kilimanjaaro
српски / srpski: Килиманџаро
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kilimanjaro
Basa Sunda: Kilimanjaro
svenska: Kilimanjaro
Tagalog: Kilimanjaro
tarandíne: Kilimanjaro
татарча/tatarça: Kilimancaro
Türkmençe: Kilimanjaro
українська: Кіліманджаро
vèneto: Kilimanjaro
vepsän kel’: Kilimandžaro
Tiếng Việt: Núi Kilimanjaro
žemaitėška: Kėlėmandžars