Just In: Fire Breaks Out On Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s Tallest Peak

Just In: Fire Breaks Out On Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s Tallest Peak

By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Dar-es-Salaam: A fire broke out on Mount Kilimanjaro on Sunday afternoon and authorities were trying to contain it, Tanzania’s National Parks service (TANAPA) said.

The parks service posted a blurry photograph on its Twitter account of what appeared to be Mount Kilimanjaro with several pockets of flames burning on it, with the message: “A fire emerged on Mount Kilimanjaro this afternoon.”

Risk of spread

Mountain climbers on the Marangu route who were at Kibo Hut said they saw the fire in shrubs that are close to Mandara. Given the nature of the vegetation, it could spread further if not contained.

Mount Kilimanjaro has 3 volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. It is the 4th most topographically prominent peak on Earth.

It is part of Kilimanjaro National Park and is a popular hiking and mountain climbing destination.

Because of its shrinking glaciers and disappearing ice fields, it has been the subject of many scientific studies.

About Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is the 4th most topographically prominent peak on Earth. The first people known to have reached the summit were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller, in 1889. It is part of Kilimanjaro National Park.

The Tanzania National Parks Authority, a Tanzanian government agency, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization list the height of mountain’s Uhuru Peak as 5,900 m (19,357 ft), based on a British survey in 1952. The height has since been measured as 5,892 metres (19,331 ft) in 1999, 5,902 metres (19,364 ft) in 2008, and 5,899 metres (19,354 ft) in 2014.

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. 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.

The youngest dated rocks at Mawenzi are about 448,000 years old. Mawenzi forms a horseshoe-shaped ridge with pinnacles and ridges opening to the northeast, with a tower-like shape resulting from deep erosion and a mafic dike swarm.

Several large cirques cut into the ring. The largest of these sits on top of the Great Barranco gorge. Also notable are the East 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, Neumann Tower, 4,425 metres (14,518 ft).

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