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The Great Lakes

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Lake Malawi

Lake Makawi

Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Nyasa in most countries, or Lake Nyassa, Lake Niassa, or Lago Niassa in Mozambique), is an African Great Lake and the southmost lake in the great rift valley system of east Africa. This lake, the third largest in Africa and the eighth largest lake in the world, is located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. This lake is also the second deepest lake in Africa, but its placid nature at its northern shore gives no hint of its depth. This great lake's tropical waters reportedly are the habitat of more species of fish than any other lake on the earth. Lake Malawi or Lake Nyaza is between 560 and 580 kilometres long, and it is about 75 kilometres wide at its widest point. The total surface area of this lake is about 29,600 square kilometres.

This lake has shorelines on western Mozambique, eastern Malawi, and southern Tanzania. The largest river flowing into this lake is the Ruhuhu River. This large freshwater lake has an outlet, which is the shire river, a tributary that flows into the very large Zambezi river. Lake Malawi lies in the great rift valley that was formed by the opening of the east African rift, where the African tectonic plate is being split into two pieces. This is called a divergent plate tectonics boundary. Lake Malawi or Nyaza itself is variously estmated at about 40,000 years old or about one to two million years. In addition, Lake Malawi or Nyaza is locates about 350 kilometers southeast of Lake Tanganyika, another of the huge lakes of the great rift valley.

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second or third largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal in Siberia.

The lake is divided between four countries Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zambia, with the DRC (45%) and Tanzania (41%) possessing the majority of the lake. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.

The lake is situated within the Western Rift of the geographic feature known as the great rift valley formed by the tectonic east African rift, and is confined by the mountainous walls of the valley. It is the largest rift lake in Africa and the second largest lake by surface area on the continent. It is the deepest lake in Africa and holds the greatest volume of fresh water.

It extends for 673 km in a general north south direction and averages 50 km in width. The lake covers 32,900 km², with a shoreline of 1,828 km and a mean depth of 570 metres (1,900 ft) and a maximum depth of 1,470 metres (4,800 ft) (in the northern basin) it holds an estimated 18,900 km³ (4500 cubic miles). It has an average surface temperature of 25 °C and a pH averaging 8.4. Additionally, beneath the 500 m of water there is circa 4,500 metres of sediment lying over the rock floor.

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria or Victoria Nyanza (also known as Ukerewe, Nalubaale, Sango, or Lolwe) is one of the African great lakes.

The lake was named after the United Kingdom's Queen Victoria, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to see the lake. At 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi), lake Victoria is Africa's largest lake, and the largest tropical lake in the world.

As lake Michigan-Huron is connected at the same elevation pool and is thus treated as one lake by hydrologists and geographers, lake Victoria is the worlds third-largest freshwater lake. In terms of volume, it is the worlds seventh-largest freshwater lake, containing 2,750 cubic kilometres (2.2 billion acre-feet) of water. The lake receives most of its water from direct precipitation.

Its largest influent is the Kagera river, the mouth of which lies on the lake's western shore. The only river to leave the lake, the White Nile (known as the "Victoria Nile" as it leaves the lake), leaves at Jinja, Uganda, on the lakes north shore. Lake Victoria occupies a shallow depression in the East African Plateau, and has a maximum depth of 84 metres (280 ft) and an average depth of 20 metres (66 ft). Lake Victoria supports Africa's largest inland fishery. Original image courtesy of the Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.

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