The Geology of Kenya

     Because my Core exam is tomorrow morning and I’ve been too sick for much library time lately, I’m getting worried about how my grade will fare. In order to (hopefully) remedy this, I’ll write a blog that incorporates some Core 112 with Geology. In Core, we have learned (not a lot) about a woman named Wangari Mathaii, who became reknowned for her Nobel Peace Prize accomplishment and the actions that got her there. How does this woman relate to Geology? Well, she relates to environmental studies better, but in order to better understand her cause, one must first understand the geological environment in which she lived.

     Wangari Mathaii was born in a small village in Kenya. Kenya is a very poor country; in 1998, its GDP per capita was no more than 980 US dollars. The average life expectancy of people who were born in Kenya in 1998 was about 51 years. In part, this poverty can be acclaimed to the country’s poor infastructure and lack of agricultural revenue. Because the country’s terrain is so dry, it is hard for villagers to farm crops.

     One of the most unique geological features of Kenya is known as Mount Kenya. This is obviously a mountain. Mount Kenya is the secon highest peak in all of Africa, second only to Kilimanjaro, which is an awesome mountain to visit, by the way. Anyway, Mount Kenya is located right smack dab in the middle of Kenya, which places it just south of the equator. Mount Kenya, like many other mountains, is actually a volocano. You can probably assume by its great height that it is a stratovolcano. One really cool thing about this mountain is that as you climb up it, you will pass through eight different bands of vegetation, and about 15,000 visitors experience thie every year.

     Three tribes that live in close range to Mount Kenya incorporate it into their culture. These tribes are Kĩkũyũ, Ameru, Embu and Maasai. I’m not sure which of those, if any, Wangari Mathaii belonged to, but I’m sure that it would be an interesting tidbit if I could find out. Something that I find interesting is that the first two listed tribes both believe that their own god(s) live(s) on Mount Kenya, and they sometimes climb the mountain to make sacrifices or to worship their god.

     Back to Mount Kenya’s Geology… Earlier I mentioned that Mount Kenya is a stratovolcano. But it is inactive, and has been for many, many, many, many, MANY years. Evidence of this can be found in Mount Kenya’s dry lava holes and lack of spores. Also, one scientist threw a bird down one of its holes, and a few minutes later, the bird flew back out. A lot of the rocks formed on Mount Kenya are mafic, including Basalt. This means that if the volcano was not extinct, Mount Kenya’s explosions wouldn’t be very ba, because they would be of low viscosity.

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3 Responses to The Geology of Kenya

  1. samparton says:

    I like that you connected Core to Geology (and not just because I am a peer leader and I am supposed to tell you that Core can be applied to every aspect of life). But really, we never learned about the environment that Mathaii was saving. Yes the book described the mountains that outlined the horizon but I never made the connection to where she was actually living. I think that it is interesting that the Volcano is no longer active but that if it was ever to erupt again it would be devestating for this area.

  2. emilyhartman says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Kenya, but any time I hear about volcanoes anywhere in the world I get a little discouraged to visit anyplace near them. It’s a relief to find out that the volcano has been inactive for quite sometime.

  3. wwhite2221 says:

    Who would have thought that Kenya would be the result of a volcano. Africa seems to amaze me more each time I learn something new about it. There is a whole lot more there than the deserts and plains.

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