Glaciers are rare in Africa and can only be found In Uganda (Ruwenzori), Kenya (Mountain Kenya) and the Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. These being tropical countries, the occurrence of glaciers are such a unique thing and it bits the laws of science.
Here are some of the glaciers of the Kilimanjaro ranges.
The Credner Glacier is located on the Kibo peak on the north western side of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. It is also one of the largest glaciers on this mountain. The glacier is still in the ice form up to now and is present at the top the Kilimanjaro.
Between the mark of 5,500 and 5,800 meters above sea level is where you will find these glaciers. The glacier are quickly melting and it is believed according to research that in the next 10 years the glaciers may cease to exist if no strict measure are taken to control the factor that are affecting the glaciers.
The Credner Glacier is said of have lost half their size in the last 10 years and if the trend continues then there will be almost one of them in the next 5 years.
The Rebmann Glacier
The Rebmann Glacier is an active glacier and it one among the few that are still active on the Kilimanjaro ranges.
When the fields of ice of the Kilimanjaro were broken down, there were many ice masses that were forced but only a few of them remained intact as some were melted right away.
This process is believed to have taken place about 100 years ago. Over 80percent of the glaciers of the Kilimanjaro have been lost since 1912.
These particular glaciers were named after Johannes Rebmann who also is believed to have discovered the glaciers in 1849.
The glaciers are particularly on the Kibo peak at the south eastern part of the Kilimanjaro.
The Rebmann glacier is among the few glaciers that descend the rim of the cater on the Kibo cone. The other major ones are the Kersten and Decken Glaciers.
It is odd that there are glaciers in equatorial after due to the temperature expected here. This has defied the laws of the sun.
It is said that the summit of the Kilimanjaro is very cold at night and in the morning and extremely hot during the day.
The rays of the sun are too hot and direct and it always advised that one should have option to protect them from the sun.
Johannes Rebmann was the first European to prove the presence of the glaciers at the top the Kilimanjaro.
The Ratzel Glacier
The Ratzel Glaciers are a product of the southern Ice field of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. Just like most of the glaciers, these are also located on the Kibo peak.
This is because probably it is the highest point of the mountain. It is north of the Gilman’s point. While on the Gilman’s point therefore you can see the Ratzel Glacier further south since they are in so much isolation from the crater rim in the south.
The southern ice field is a source of four glaciers which are Kersten, Rebmann, Decken, and Heim Glaciers
Meyer and his team spent the entire morning trying to get the ladder out of the ice cliff until around 2am when they made their attempt to reach the summit.
Coincidentally, the ice cliff they were describing is the current Ratzel Glacier. He further describes that to get each stair out; they would need to strike with an axe about 20 times to see a crack.
This glacier was named by Meyer in honor of a Professor of Geography who was from Leipzig in Germany where Meyer was born.
Most of the glaciers on the southern side of the Kibo cone were collectively described as the southern Ice field since at one point they had lost their snouts.
The Ratzel Glacier lies further east of the southern Ice field glaciers and over time has been broken into several other smaller pieces that have vanished over time.
The Balletto Glacier
The Balletto Glacier like most of the glaciers is on the Kibo peak, which is the highest of the Kilimanjaro and is located on the southern slopes of this peak.
This among the few intact glaciers remaining on this mountain. This glacier is located between the altitude of between 5,000 meter and 5,400 meters above sea level.
This glacier a base of about 1200 meters that it rests on a big rock commonly known as the “Western Breach Wall” or the kissing rock. It is a few meters below the Diamond glaciers.
A small rock inter connects the two glacier and is about 90 meters long.
There is a local tale that an Italian Balletto discovered the Machame route and mapped it using his dog. It is believed that Balletto would throw a piece of meat every time he wanted to his dogs to navigate the Kilimanjaro.
There were lot barriers on the Kilimanjaro and it is believed that the dog would overcome them with ease compared to the humans. He would then plan his itinerary following the ease with which the dog would find the meat he threw.
This is more like myth but it’s really interesting. This route has been the most successful route of the Kilimanjaro and we can’t attribute any of this to it.
The big glacier was therefore named after Balleto for his role on finding the roué that eventually leads to this glacier.
The Heim Glacier
The Heim Glacier used to be a famous spot for the hiker on the Kilimanjaro before it eventually disappeared in the year 1996. This has been the fate for most of the glaciers of the Northern ice field.
Most of them have disappeared and some have shrunk in size some even more than half like the Furtwängler Glacier.
The glaciers were best viewed from the Karanga Valley on the southern circuit of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. On the left as the Kersten Glacier that was forming from the southern ice fields.
These glaciers were viewed from the Barranco camp that is on the right at an elevation of about 3,950 meters above sea level. On the left were the Balletto glacier and the Diamond glaciers which are above it.
This scenery is no more as the Heim glaciers have been gone for more than 20 years.
In the late 1880s, Meyer made his first study of the Kilimanjaro Mountain. Since then, there have been significant decline in the amount of glacier but surprisingly there have been no conclusive map of the glaciers on the Kilimanjaro Mountain.
Most of the important people use up to date is information put out by Meyers. For example he has photo editions of the area for years, 1891, 1900, 1909. Most of the recent information is from aerial photography and satellites.
The snow cap on the Kilimanjaro usually melts and disappears or it will break away and form a glacier and that why it is referred to as transitory.
The Arrow glacier was also known as the Little Barranco. These glaciers have melted over time and no longer exist.
The Drygalski Glacier and the Arrow glaciers have both melted away and ceased to exist on the Kilimanjaro.
This is as a result of global warming. The effects of global warming have had a big effect on the glacier and most of them have lost over 80% of their masses.
If the effects are not controlled, then we may not have any glaciers on the Kilimanjaro by 2030.
These glaciers are in the altitude of about 5,300 meters and 5,470 meters above sea level.
They are on the western slopes of the Kibo peak on the Kilimanjaro Mountain.
Glacier is very close to the hazardous Western Breach Route otherwise known as the Arrow Glacier Route and it also sits close to the Lemosho Route.
The Drygalski Glacier
This glacier is among those that no longer exist on the Kilimanjaro ranges. It used to be found at the tallest peak of the Kilimanjaro, the Kibo peak.
It was part of the northern ice field and most of the glacier on this side of the mountain have either shrunk or melted to disappearance. This is attributed to the increased global warming in the area.
The glacier used to be at the altitude of about 4.800 feet above sea level. Erich von Drygalski, a German geographer, is the one that the Drygalski Glacier was named after.
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