Ruwenzori Range

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The Ruwenzori Range, now officially called Rwenzori Mountains (the spelling having been changed in about 1980 to conform more closely with the local tribal name) is a small but spectacular mountain range of central Africa, often referred to as Mt. Rwenzori, located on the border between Uganda and the DRC, with heights of up to 5,109 m (16,761 ft). 0°24′10.28″N, 29°53′26.26″E. The highest Rwenzoris are permanently snow-capped, and they, along with Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are the only such in Africa. The Ruwenzoris are often identified with the "Mountains of the Moon" mentioned by Ptolemy, but the descriptions are too vague to make this definite.

The mountains formed as a result of uplift on the flanks of the Albertine (western) Rift of the East African Rift, the African part of the Great Rift Valley.

The range is about 120 km (75 mi) long and 65 km (40 mi) wide. It consists of six massifs separated by deep gorges: Mount Baker, Mount Emin, Mount Gessi, Mount Luigi di Savoia, Mount Speke, and Mount Stanley. Mount Stanley is the largest and has several subsidiary summits, with Margherita Peak being the highest point. The rock is metamorphic, and the mountains are believed to have been tilted and squeezed upwards by plate movement. They are in an extremely humid area, and frequently enveloped in clouds.

The Ruwenzori are known for their vegetation, ranging from tropical rainforest through alpine meadows to snow; and for their animal population, including forest elephants, several primate species and many endemic birds. One zone is known for its six metre high heather covered in moss, another for its three metre blue lobelias. Most of the range is now a World Heritage Site and is covered jointly by The Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda and the Parc National des Virunga in Congo.

The first European sighting of the Ruwenzori was by the expedition of Henry Morton Stanley in 1889 (the aforementioned clouds are considered to explain why two decades of previous explorers had not seen them). On June 7, the expedition's second-in-command and its military commander, William Grant Stairs, climbed to 10,677 feet, the first non-African ever to climb in the range. The first ascent to the summit was made by the Duke of the Abruzzi in 1906.

[edit] Glacial Recession in Rwenzori

A subject of concern in recent years has been the impact of climate change on Rwenzori's glaciers. In 1906 the Rwenzori had 43 named glaciers distributed over 6 mountains with a total area of 7.5 km²., about half the total glacier area in Africa. By 2005, less than half of these survive, on only 3 mountains, with an area of about 1.5 km². Recent scientific studies such as those by Dr Richard Taylor of UCL have attributed this to global climate change, and investigated its impact on the mountain's vegetation and biodiversity.

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[edit] External links

fr:Rwenzori it:Catena del Ruwenzori he:רכס רוונזורי lt:Ruvenzoris hu:Rwenzori-hegység nds:Ruwenzori-Bargen ro:Ruwenzori sk:Ruwenzori

Ruwenzori Range

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