Lake Tanganyika
Overview
Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake
African Great Lakes
The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes and the Rift Valley lakes in and around the geographic Great Rift Valley formed by the action of the tectonic East African Rift on the continent of Africa...

. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

 in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

; it is also the world's longest freshwater lake. The lake is divided among four countries – Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 (DRC), Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

, with the DRC (45%) and Tanzania (41%) possessing the majority of the lake.
Encyclopedia
Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake
African Great Lakes
The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes and the Rift Valley lakes in and around the geographic Great Rift Valley formed by the action of the tectonic East African Rift on the continent of Africa...

. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

 in Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

; it is also the world's longest freshwater lake. The lake is divided among four countries – Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 (DRC), Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

 and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

, with the DRC (45%) and Tanzania (41%) possessing the majority of the lake. The water flows into the Congo River
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

 system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

.

Geography

The lake is situated within the Western Rift of the geographic feature known as the Great Rift Valley
Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley is a name given in the late 19th century by British explorer John Walter Gregory to the continuous geographic trench, approximately in length, that runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in South East Africa...

 formed by the tectonic
Tectonics
Tectonics is a field of study within geology concerned generally with the structures within the lithosphere of the Earth and particularly with the forces and movements that have operated in a region to create these structures.Tectonics is concerned with the orogenies and tectonic development of...

 East African Rift
East African Rift
The East African Rift is an active continental rift zone in eastern Africa that appears to be a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary. It is part of the larger Great Rift Valley. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two new tectonic plates...

, and is confined by the mountainous walls of the valley. It is the largest rift lake
Rift lake
A rift lake is a lake formed as a result of subsidence related to movement on faults within a rift zone, an area of extensional tectonics in the continental crust. They are often found within rift valleys and may be very deep...

 in Africa and the second largest lake by volume in the world. It is the deepest lake in Africa and holds the greatest volume of fresh water. It extends for 676 km (420 mi) in a general north-south direction and averages 50 km (31.1 mi) in width. The lake covers 32900 km² (12,702.8 sq mi), with a shoreline of 1828 km (1,135.9 mi) and a mean depth of 570 m (1,870.1 ft) and a maximum depth of 1470 m (4,822.8 ft) (in the northern basin) it holds an estimated 18900 cubic kilometres (4,534.4 cu mi). It has an average surface temperature of 25 °C and a pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 averaging 8.4.

The enormous depth and tropical location of the lake prevent 'turnover' of water masses, which means that much of the lower depths of the lake is so-called 'fossil water
Fossil water
Fossil water or paleowater is groundwater that has remained sealed in an aquifer for a long period of time. Water can rest underground in "fossil aquifers" for thousands or even millions of years...

' and is anoxic (lacking oxygen). The catchment area of the lake covers 231,000 km², with two main rivers flowing into the lake, numerous smaller rivers and streams (due to the steep mountains that keep drainage areas small), and one major outflow, the Lukuga River, which empties into the Congo River
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

 drainage.
'
The major river that flows into this lake, beginning 10.6 ka, is the Ruzizi River
Ruzizi River
The Ruzizi , is a river which flows from Lake Kivu to Lake Tanganyika in Central Africa, descending rapidly from about 1,500 metres above sea level to about 770 metres above sea level over its length...

, entering the north of the lake from Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu
Lake Kivu is one of the African Great Lakes. It lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine Rift, a part of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika...

. The Malagarasi River
Malagarasi River
The Malagarasi River is Tanzania's second longest river. It empties into the eastern side of Lake Tanganyika about 25 miles south of Kigoma, and is one of the lake's primary inflows. The Malagarasi pre-dates Lake Tanganyika and was formerly a tributary of the Congo River to its west...

, which is Tanzania's second largest river, enters the east side of Lake Tanganyika. The Malagarasi is older than Lake Tanganyika and was formerly continuous with the Congo river
Congo River
The Congo River is a river in Africa, and is the deepest river in the world, with measured depths in excess of . It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon...

. Lake Tanganyika is presently the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume.

Biology

The lake holds at least 250 species of cichlid
Cichlid
Cichlids are fishes from the family Cichlidae in the order Perciformes. Cichlids are members of a group known as the Labroidei along with the wrasses , damselfish , and surfperches . This family is both large and diverse. At least 1,300 species have been scientifically described, making it one of...

 fish and 150 non-cichlid species, most of which live along the shoreline down to a depth of approximately 180 metres (590.6 ft).
Many species of cichlids from Lake Tanganyika are popular fish among aquarium owners due to their bright colors. Recreating a Lake Tanganyika biotope to host those cichlids in an habitat similar to their natural environment is also popular in the aquarium hobby.

Lake Tanganyika is thus an important biological resource for the study of speciation in evolution. The largest biomass of fish, however, is in the pelagic zone (open waters) and is dominated by six species: two species of "Tanganyika sardine" and four species of predatory lates (related to, but not the same as, the Nile perch that has devastated Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake....

 cichlids). Almost all (98%) of the Tanganyikan cichlid species are endemic
Endemic (ecology)
Endemism is the ecological state of being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation or other defined zone, or habitat type; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found elsewhere. For example, all species of lemur are endemic to the...

 to the lake and many, such as fish from the brightly coloured Tropheus
Tropheus
Tropheus is a small genus of six species of cichlid fish endemic to Lake Tanganyika in East Africa. The genus Tropheus is widespread across all regions of lake Tanganyika, from Burundi in the North to Zambia in the South.Males and females are relatively similar but do display obvious sexual...

 genus, are prized within the aquarium trade. This kind of elevated endemism also occurs among the numerous invertebrates in the lake, most especially the molluscs (which possess forms similar to those of many marine molluscs), crabs, shrimps, copepod
Copepod
Copepods are a group of small crustaceans found in the sea and nearly every freshwater habitat. Some species are planktonic , some are benthic , and some continental species may live in limno-terrestrial habitats and other wet terrestrial places, such as swamps, under leaf fall in wet forests,...

s, jellyfishes, leeches, etc.

Industry

It is estimated that 25–40% of the protein in the diet of the approximately one million people living around the lake comes from lake fish. Currently, there are around 100,000 people directly involved in the fisheries operating from almost 800 sites. The lake is also vital to the estimated 10 million people living in the basin.

Lake Tanganyika fish can be found exported throughout East Africa. Commercial fishing began in the mid-1950s and has had an extremely heavy impact on the pelagic fish
Pelagic fish
Pelagic fish live near the surface or in the water column of coastal, ocean and lake waters, but not on the bottom of the sea or the lake. They can be contrasted with demersal fish, which do live on or near the bottom, and reef fish which are associated with coral reefs.The marine pelagic...

 species; in 1995 the total catch was around 180,000 tonnes. Former industrial fisheries, which boomed in the 1980s, have subsequently collapsed.

Transport

There are two ferries which carry passengers and cargo along the eastern shore of the lake - the MV Liemba
MV Liemba
The MV Liemba, formerly the Graf von Götzen, is a passenger and cargo ferry that runs along the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika...

 between Kigoma and Mpulungu and the MV Mwongozo
MV Mwongozo
MV Mwongozo is a mixed passenger and cargo ferry on Lake Tanganyika operated by the Marine Services Company Limited. She can carry up to 800 passengers and 80 tons of cargo. Her accommodation includes open sleeping areas, individual cabins and a passenger dining saloon...

, which runs between Kigoma and Bujumbura.
  • The port town of Kigoma
    Kigoma
    Kigoma is a town and lake port in western Tanzania, on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika and close to the border with Burundi. It serves as the capital for the surrounding Kigoma Region and has a population of 135,234 and an elevation of 775 m.The historic trading town of Ujiji is 6 km...

     is the railhead
    Railhead
    The word railhead is a railway term with two distinct meanings, depending upon its context.Sometimes, particularly in the context of modern freight terminals, the word is used to denote a terminus of a railway line, especially if the line is not yet finished, or if the terminus interfaces with...

     for the railway from Dar es Salaam
    Dar es Salaam
    Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam is actually an administrative province within Tanzania, and consists of three local government areas or administrative districts: ...

     in Tanzania
    Tanzania
    The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

    .
  • The port town of Kalemie
    Kalemie
    Kalemie, formerly Albertville/Albertstad, is a town on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The town is next to the exit of the Lukuga River flowing out from Lake Tanganyika to the Lualaba River....

     is the railhead
    Railhead
    The word railhead is a railway term with two distinct meanings, depending upon its context.Sometimes, particularly in the context of modern freight terminals, the word is used to denote a terminus of a railway line, especially if the line is not yet finished, or if the terminus interfaces with...

     for the D.R. Congo
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

     rail network.
  • The port town of Mpulungu
    Mpulungu
    Mpulungu is a town in the Northern Province of Zambia, at the southern tip of Lake Tanganyika.From Mpulungu, boats reach DR Congo, Tanzania and Burundi...

     is a proposed railhead
    Railhead
    The word railhead is a railway term with two distinct meanings, depending upon its context.Sometimes, particularly in the context of modern freight terminals, the word is used to denote a terminus of a railway line, especially if the line is not yet finished, or if the terminus interfaces with...

     for Zambia
    Zambia
    Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

    .

History

The first known Westerners to find the lake were the Great British explorers Richard Burton
Richard Francis Burton
Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS was a British geographer, explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia, Africa and the Americas as well as his...

 and John Speke, in 1858. They located it while searching for the source of the Nile River. Speke continued and found the actual source, Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. The lake was named for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake....

. Later David Livingstone
David Livingstone
David Livingstone was a Scottish Congregationalist pioneer medical missionary with the London Missionary Society and an explorer in Africa. His meeting with H. M. Stanley gave rise to the popular quotation, "Dr...

 passed by the lake. He noted the name "Liemba" for its southern part, a word probably from the Fipa
Fipa
The Fipa are an ethnic and linguistic group based in the Sumbawanga and Nkansi districts of Rukwa Region in southwestern Tanzania speaking the Fipa and Mambwe languages...

 language which in 1927 was chosen as name for the conquered German ship which is serving the lake up to the present time.

World War I

The Lake was the scene of two famous battles during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

.

With the aid of the Graf von Götzen
MV Liemba
The MV Liemba, formerly the Graf von Götzen, is a passenger and cargo ferry that runs along the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika...

 (named after Count Gustav Adolf Graf von Götzen
Gustav Adolf von Götzen
Count Gustav Adolf von Götzen was a German explorer and Governor of German East Africa. He was the second European to set foot in Rwanda, after Dr Oscar Baumann, and later presided over the bloody quashing of the Maji Maji Rebellion in what is now Tanzania.- Early life :Götzen studied law at the...

, the former governor of German East Africa
German East Africa
German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....

), the Germans had complete control of the lake in the early stages of the war. The ship was used both to ferry cargo and personnel across the lake, and as a base from which to launch surprise attacks on Allied troops.

It therefore became essential for the Allied forces to gain control of the lake themselves. Under the command of Geoffrey Spicer-Simson
Geoffrey Spicer-Simson
Commander Geoffrey Basil Spicer-Simson DSO was a Royal Navy officer. He served in the Mediterranean, Pacific and Home Fleets...

 the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 achieved the monumental task of bringing two armed motor boats Mimi and Toutou from England to the lake by rail, road and river to Kalemie
Kalemie
Kalemie, formerly Albertville/Albertstad, is a town on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The town is next to the exit of the Lukuga River flowing out from Lake Tanganyika to the Lualaba River....

 on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika. The two boats waited until December 1915, and mounted a surprise attack on the Germans, with the capture of the gunboat Kingani. Another German vessel, the Hedwig, was sunk in February 1916, leaving the Götzen as the only German vessel remaining to control the lake.

As a result of their strengthened position on the lake, the Allies started advancing towards Kigoma by land, and the Belgians established an airbase on the western shore at Albertville
Kalemie
Kalemie, formerly Albertville/Albertstad, is a town on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The town is next to the exit of the Lukuga River flowing out from Lake Tanganyika to the Lualaba River....

. It was from there, in June 1916, that they launched a bombing raid on German positions in and around Kigoma. It is unclear whether or not the Götzen was hit (the Belgians claimed to have hit it but the Germans denied this), but German morale suffered and the ship was subsequently stripped of its gun since it was needed elsewhere.

The war on the lake had reached a stalemate by this stage, with both sides refusing to mount attacks. However, the war on land was progressing, largely to the advantage of the Allies, who cut off the railway link in July 1916 and threatened to isolate Kigoma completely. This led the German commander, Gustav Zimmer, to abandon the town and head south. In order to avoid his prize ship falling into Allied hands, Zimmer scuttled the vessel on July 26, 1916. The vessel was later resurrected and renamed as the MV Liemba
MV Liemba
The MV Liemba, formerly the Graf von Götzen, is a passenger and cargo ferry that runs along the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika...

 (see transport).

Che Guevara

In 1965 Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

 used the western shores of Lake Tanganyika as a training camp for guerrilla forces in the Congo. From his camp, Che and his forces attempted to overthrow the government, but ended up pulling out in less than a year since the National Security Agency
National Security Agency
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S...

 (NSA) had been monitoring him the entire time and aided government forces in ambushing his guerrillas.

Recent history

In 1992 Lake Tanganyika featured in the documentary series Pole to Pole
Pole to Pole
Pole to Pole is an eight-part television documentary travel series made for the BBC and released in 1992. The presenter is Michael Palin, this being the second of Palin's major journeys for the BBC. The trip from the North Pole to the South Pole went via Scandinavia, the Soviet Union, parts of...

. The BBC documentarian Michael Palin
Michael Palin
Michael Edward Palin, CBE FRGS is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentaries....

 stayed on board the MV Liemba
MV Liemba
The MV Liemba, formerly the Graf von Götzen, is a passenger and cargo ferry that runs along the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika...

 and traveled across the lake.

Since 2004 the lake has been the focus of a massive Water and Nature Initiative by the IUCN. The project is scheduled to take five years at a total cost of US$ 27 million. The initiative is attempting to monitor the resources and state of the lake, set common criteria for acceptable level of sediments, pollution, and water quality in general, and design and establish a lake basin management authority.

See also

  • 2005 Lake Tanganyika earthquake
    2005 Lake Tanganyika earthquake
    The 2005 Lake Tanganyika earthquake occurred along the East African Great Rift Valley, and struck at 12:19:55 on 5 December 2005 with its focus approximately below the surface of Lake Tanganyika...

  • African Great Lakes
    African Great Lakes
    The African Great Lakes are a series of lakes and the Rift Valley lakes in and around the geographic Great Rift Valley formed by the action of the tectonic East African Rift on the continent of Africa...

  • List of lakes
  • List of lakes by area
  • Mimi and Toutou Go Forth: The Bizarre Battle for Lake Tanganyika
  • Rift Valley lakes
    Rift Valley lakes
    The Rift Valley lakes are a group of lakes in the Great Rift Valley formed by the East African Rift which runs through the whole eastern side of the African continent from north to south...

  • Primeval (film)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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