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S.3 Geography Notes


Glaciation: it refers to the overall effect of glaciers on the landscape resulting into both erosional and depositional features

Glacier is a thick/large mass of ice of limited width, moving from the area of accumulation (snow field) following pre-existing valleys due to gravity. Or Glacier is an accumulated/compacted mass of ice/snow moving in a restricted channel/valley from a highland to a low land.  Glaciers have different names for example mountain glaciers and valley glaciers/alpine glacier. Glaciers move continuously from higher ground to lower ground under the influence of gravity and are enclosed within the valley walls.

The action of glacier includes glacier erosion, transportation and deposition. These processes will lead to the formation of glacier scenery. Glaciers in East Africa are only found in high mountainous areas of Kenya, Kilimanjaro and Rwenzori. This is mainly because those mountains (Kenya, Kilimanjaro and Rwenzori) are high above the snow line (4500m).

In East Africa glacial activities are limited to a few places, this is due to a number  of factors that limit the formation of snow and this include: 

  • The  latitudinal  position  of  East  Africa  across  or  astride  the  equator  hence,  the  temperatures  are generally hot and therefore not conducive for the existence of glacier anywhere and anyhow in East Africa. 
  • In East Africa the snowline is very high  about 4800m, which only the three highest mountains  can reach  which  explains them having  the  glacial  activities.  Snowline  is  that  line  where  there  is permanent snow and ice. It can be at ground level at poles. 
  • Precipitation in East Africa is mainly in the form of rainfall but in a very small area it is in the form of ice and snow that is limited to tops of the three mountains, that explains why glacial activities are limited a few places. 
  • The effect of the tectonic activities in East Africa has also contributed to the limited glacial activities. Volcanic eruptions have raised the surrounding temperatures leading to the snow and ice to retreat to slopes of the high mountains, namely Ruwenzori, Kenya, Kilimanjaro. 


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