The Geology Of Serengeti National Park : A high interior plateau makes up the Serengeti ecosystem’s geology, creating picturesque scenes with amazing wildlife and scenery! From its highest points in the crater highlands, which are 3,636 meters above sea level, it descends to the Speke Gulf on Lake Victoria, which is 920 meters above sea level.
The volcanic activity associated with plate tectonics in the Great Rift Valley produced the geology of the Serengeti highlands. The Ol Doinyo Lengai, which in local Maasai means “Mountain of God,” is the only volcano on the site that is still active.
You will learn everything about the geology of Serengeti National Park in this article, including the meaning of the fabled word Kopje, the history of the soil and volcanic activity, mountains and hills, the Serengeti Rivers, and more!
GEOLOGY OF THE SERENGETI: KOPJES, HISTORIC ROCKS
Ancient crystalline rocks called kopjes, pronounced “kop-eez,” protrude through the surfaces of more recent soils and rocks. The black clay soils that are impossible to drive over are created by these stones and the granite gneiss (eyes) that form the light-colored sandy soils.
Under the layers of volcanic ash and rocks that make up the soil of Serengeti National Park, you can find these ancient rocks. In the late Precambrian era, a massive bubble of liquid granite forced its way up from the molten rock beneath the Earth’s crust and into the Tanganyika Shield.
The granite is cracked as a result of the repeated cooling and heating caused by the African sun, and the wind also weathers the granite into fascinating shapes. The majority of kopjes are round or have round boulders on them.
The most distinctive features of the Serengeti National Park’s landscape are kopjes, also known as islands in a sea of grass. Therefore, when exploring the Serengeti’s African plains, be sure to refer to them as such.
In addition, many wildlife species, including lions, cheetahs, leopards, and others, call these ancient stones home. These animals can be seen relaxing on top of them to get a better view of their surroundings.
GEOLOGY OF THE SERENGETI: SOILS AND VOLCANIC HISTORY OF THE SERENGETI
The soil and volcanic history of Serengeti National Park’s geology are fascinating. Africa is a very old continent, to begin with. It has reportedly been dubbed the “Mother of All Continents” because it is the oldest inhabited continent, predating both Europe and North America by a considerable margin. As you land at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you can see this clearly.
Apart from the East African rift system, Africa has been flattened by the mountains and transformed into a series of endless rolling hills and Serengeti plains due to millions of years of weathering.
Two tectonic plates moving apart at the East African Rift, causing cracks that resulted in the formation of the Rift Valley and the volcanoes on either side of it. These young volcanoes have erupted, covering the Serengeti National Park’s eastern plains in volcanic ash and other large particles.
The rift volcanoes are best exemplified by Mount Kenya, Mount Meru, and Mount Kilimanjaro. Despite the Ngorongoro Crater’s appearance as an extinct volcano, the Tanzanian Geological Survey claims that, unlike its neighbors, it has never erupted.
The Serengeti plains’ volcanic ash eruption produced nutrient-rich soils with high concentrations of sodium, calcium, potassium, and different kinds of salt. Since the soil is shallow, caliche, a calcareous hardpan, has formed.
The salts float off and wash into the soil during the local rainfall patterns. Due to more rain and less calcium, the soil in the Serengeti National Park then becomes deeper, where the hardpan disappears into the woodlands and northern Tanzanian plains.
GEOLOGY OF THE SERENGETI: MOUNTAINS AND HILLS OF THE SERENGETI
The Serengeti plains exhibit a distinct westward slope, with lowering elevations at roughly 1,850 meters close to the Ngorongoro highlands and less than 1,000 meters to Lake Victoria—the only continuously flowing river in the Serengeti ecosystem. However, this generally flat landscape is giving way to bands of hills that are rising steeply.
The northern Serengeti boundary is defined by one band that extends from Grumechen to Kuko in the north and merges at the Loita Hills in Kenya. The east park of the Serengeti plains gives rise to the Gol Mountains.
The East African Rift System, also known as EARS, and its eastern branch, the Gregory Rift, a relatively recent geological phenomenon with active volcanism, are responsible for the most notable landforms. A narrow, linear, down-faulted component, the Gregory Rift Valley is surrounded by massive ridges and chains of mostly shallow, ribbon-shaped alkaline lakes.
GEOLOGY OF THE SERENGETI: THE SERENGETI RIVERS
Huge plains between 1,600 and 1,800 meters above sea level with numerous nearby rivers make up the Serengeti’s geology. The wildebeest crossing the Rocky River beds in the Serengeti Rivers during the great migration is a spectacular sight to behold.
For instance, the Mara River travels from the Mau forests in the north through the Kenyan highlands, through the Masai Mara in the south, the northern Serengeti in the west, the vast Masarua Marshes, and finally into Lake Victoria at Musoma.
Both its significant branches in the Serengeti and the lush riverine forests that line its banks in the Mara are supported by it. The western corridor of the Serengeti National Park is formed by parallel catchments of the Grumeti and Mbalageti Rivers, which are also located south of Mara. The Maswa Game Reserve is also traversed further south by the smaller Duma, Semu, and Simiyu rivers.
SERENGETI HABITAT AND LANDSCAPE
Volcanic soils make up the material under the earth in the Serengeti, which explains why the soil nutrient levels are high there. This is said to have been a major factor in the development of the grassland plains because it increased soil fertility. Despite the harsh environment, wildlife can thrive here for another reason.
WHY DOES THE SERENGETI HAVE NO TREES?
Trees are unable to flourish anywhere in the soil because of the dense layers of sedimentary and volcanic rock. Nevertheless, Tanzania is home to a number of well-known trees.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK?
Every year, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest herds travel through Tanzania on their way to the Serengeti in search of food and fresh water. This migration is known as the Great Wildebeest Migration.
HOW ARE KOPJES FORMED?
After the layers of ash and volcanic soil have been removed from a region in the Serengeti, the granite layers become visible, and this is how kopjes are created. The granite layers in the kopjes, one of the distinctive geological features of the Serengeti, date back more than 450 million years.
WHAT IS THE BIODIVERSITY OF THE SERENGETI?
The Serengeti is home to a wide variety of wildlife and biological diversity. This national park in Tanzania is home to the black rhino and at least four other endangered species.
VISITING SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK: SERENGETI SAFARI
The national parks, reserves, and conservation areas of central and southern Kenya, as well as northern Tanzania, expose a wide variety of geological terranes with eye-poppingly unique characteristics. The Serengeti and Tsavo Plains, which are surrounded by some of the oldest rocks on Earth, are examples of regional plateaus that are typical of East Africa.
You can schedule a trip with Focus East Africa Tours right away if you want to personally explore the endless plains of the Serengeti and its geology. We can work with you to design the perfect trip so you can see the breathtaking beauty of the wooded savannas and the massive migration of two million grazers, which is primarily influenced by rainfall patterns, without having to put in a lot of work.
It is best to note that the vast herds, which congregate for a crucial time in the comparatively dry eastern plains, react to recent geological events. Therefore, it’s best to visit them as soon as you can to personally experience and view the breathtaking Serengeti! To begin organizing your once-in-a-lifetime Serengeti safari experience, contact us right away.