18.1 - Africa Landforms and Resources


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Landforms and resources in Africa.

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18.1 - Africa Landforms and Resources

  1. 1. Africa: Landforms and Resources
  2. 2. Africa… it looks like this:
  3. 4. Back when Pangaea broke up, Africa didn’t move much.
  4. 5. It’s sometimes known as the Plateau Continent because a good chunk of it is a plateau with an average elevation of 1,000 feet.
  5. 7. <ul><li>Basins and Rivers </li></ul><ul><li>There are several river basins. </li></ul><ul><li>The rainwater from these areas drain into the rivers. </li></ul><ul><li>They are also depressions in the land that can be 5,000 feet deep. </li></ul>
  6. 8. <ul><li>The Nile River is the longest river in the world at 4,160 miles. The Mississippi is just 2,357 miles long. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s also an extremely important river as the vast majority of Egypt’s population lives along it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It provides water for consumption and for irrigation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In ancient times, its regular and predictable flooding helped make the land around it very fertile and provided the basis for the ancient Egyptian civilization. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 9. <ul><li>Most of Africa’s rivers aren’t very useful for transportation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The escarpment for the plateau is often close to the shore. Where there’s an escarpment, or merely a change in the geology, you get a cataract: waterfalls or narrow or rocky rapids areas. It’s hard to pilot a ship up a waterfall. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Congo, for example, has 32 cataracts. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 12. <ul><ul><ul><li>In fact, the largest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls, is located here. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The falls are nearly a mile wide and 420 ft high (compare that to Niagara Falls’ measly 0.7 mile wide and 167 ft height). </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 15. <ul><li>To the local indigenous people, it was known as “The Smoke that Thunders.” </li></ul>
  10. 18. <ul><ul><li>The other problem is that they have twisty paths. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 19. <ul><ul><li>The Nile is probably the one exception to these problems. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It’s relatively straight and its first cataract isn’t until around some 650 miles upriver near Aswan. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>That navigability is another one of the things that helped with ancient Egyptian civilization. In fact, in ancient times, the kingdoms abruptly stopped at the first and later second cataract. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 20. <ul><li>Rift valleys and lakes </li></ul><ul><li>Rift valleys result from plate tectonics. As the plates pull away (diverge), they leave cracks. </li></ul>
  13. 21. <ul><ul><li>In a lot of places, it leaves a nice lush valley. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 22. <ul><ul><li>In other spots, large lakes have formed. </li></ul></ul>
  15. 23. <ul><ul><ul><li>Lake Tanganyika is 4,800 feet deep at the deepest, making it second deepest in the world (next to Siberia’s Lake Baikal and its 5,700 ft depth). </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 24. <ul><li>Mountains </li></ul><ul><li>African mountains are mainly volcanic. </li></ul><ul><li>The most prominent mountain is Mt. Kilimanjaro. </li></ul>
  17. 25. <ul><li>Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Africa abounds in natural resources, especially minerals and oil, but the countries there have had trouble making good use of them. </li></ul><ul><li>One problem is that they lack the industrial and manufacturing capacity to turn the resources into goods, so most are just exported. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is in part due to European colonialism, which was more interested in the resources than in developing the place. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 26. <ul><li>The other problem is that many of the countries are politically unstable. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both corrupt governments and corrupt rebels will sell the resources for quick money which is then used for personal luxury or for fighting wars. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 27. <ul><ul><li>Diamonds, for example, are a concern. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Those in Angola and in other countries mine and sell diamonds to fund revolutionary or counter-revolutionary fighting. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Such diamonds are called conflict diamonds or blood diamonds. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>While there’s a certification process in effect to keep them from being sold, it’s easily circumvented. Diamonds are too valuable a commodity that’s in too much demand to be kept out of the world market. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 29. <ul><ul><ul><li>Interestingly, all that may change with the recent introduction of manmade diamonds that are perfect and indistinguishable from the real thing. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Previously, small or impure diamonds could be made. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One company, though, Apollo Diamond, figured out how to make pure diamonds. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>When the gems really start coming on the market, they’ll disrupt the traditional diamond trade since they cost a fraction of ground diamonds. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A flawless, colorless diamond may cost $25,000 to $50,000 per carat. Apollo can make one for $5 a carat. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 30. <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Another company, Gemesis, specializes in making yellow diamonds, which are normally $10,000 to $15,000. It costs Gemesis under $100 to make them. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>There are also methods to inject color into the manmade diamonds that, if natural, would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The whole thing has the global diamond cartel DeBeers quaking. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>