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Land and Resources, Natural Regions

Eastern Rift Valley, Mount Elgon, earth tremors, Great Rift Valley, volcanic activity

Kenya is covered with volcanic rock that is split by faults, especially in the west. The Eastern Rift of the Great Rift Valley appears in Kenya as a massive depression, as wide as 50 to 65 km (30 to 40 mi) in some places, with cliffs reaching 900 m (3,000 ft) in height. The country falls into several topographical zones extending from sea level upward to lofty mountain ranges with elevations of more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft). In the southeast, Kenya’s coastline measures 536 km (333 mi) in length and is fringed with coral reefs. It is bordered by a narrow coastal plain dotted with tropical forests. From the coast, the terrain rises to a series of low plateaus that cover most of eastern and northern Kenya and range in elevation from about 150 to 1,000 m (about 500 to 3,000 ft). The region west of the plateaus, known as the Kenya highlands, consists of a series of higher plateaus, ranging from about 900 to 2,000 m (about 3,000 to 5,000 ft). Bisected from north to south by the Eastern Rift Valley, the Kenya highlands are divided into the Mau Escarpment on the east side of the Eastern Rift Valley and the Aberdare Range on the west side. These ranges are marked by numerous extinct volcanoes, the highest of which are Mount Kenya (5,199 m/17,057 ft) in central Kenya, and Mount Elgon (4,321 m/14,177 ft) on the country’s western border. In the far west is the lower Lake Victoria basin, which includes the hilly regions to the north and south of Winam Gulf. Although earth tremors are felt periodically in Kenya’s highlands, the country has experienced no volcanic activity or serious earthquakes over the past several centuries.

Article key phrases:

Eastern Rift Valley, Mount Elgon, earth tremors, Great Rift Valley, volcanic activity, central Kenya, volcanic rock, coral reefs, far west, sea level, cliffs, tropical forests, faults, elevations, terrain, centuries, places, height, past, length


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