geography_africa_notes - Chapter 6: Subsaharan Africa For...

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Chapter 6: Subsaharan Africa For thousands of years, Africa led the world in tool manufacture, plant domestication,  and forging trade relationships Muslim faith and Islamic culture crossed the Sahara long before the first Europeans set  foot in West Africa  Africa's Physiography Encompasses about one-fifth of the earth's entire land surface Much of Africa is far from maritime sources of moisture (arid conditions) o Deserts: Sahara (north) and Kalahari (south) Rifts and Rivers o No mountain backbone (Atlas and Cape Ranges are not in the same league as  Andes and Urals) High mountains (in Ethiopia and South Africa) are really eroded plateaus East Africa - high, snow-capped volcanoes o Great lakes - resulted from powerful techtonic forces  Lie in deep trenches ( rift valleys ) Rift  – techtonic forces push apart large rigid plates of the earth’s  crust o Waterfalls (Victoria Falls) separate the upper from lower courses o Plateaus - most of the continent lies above 300 meters, half lies above 800  meters Plateau surface has sagged under weight of sediments ( basin ) Continental Drift o C ontinental drift  - 200 million years ago, techtonic forces split Pangaea apart Somalia might eventually separate from the continent Natural Environments Only the southernmost tip of realm lies outside the tropics o Elevation in tropics is not high enough to ward off heat (except in Kenya  Highlands and parts of Ethiopia) o Variable weather and frequent droughts Climatic regions are distributed symmetrically about the equator
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o Congo Basin - hot and rainy o North and south of Congo - distinct winter-dry seasons (marked more by drought than by cold) o Savanna - seasonal cycle produces two rainy seasons, separated by two winter dry seasons Wildlife o Savanna - primates to wildabeests Forest - gorillas and chimpanzees Savanna plains - large herds of herbivores o Colonialism, war, civil unrest, and poaching threatens existence of a lot of species Fences and fines kept wild animals in and people out (didn't take into account migratory behavior of wild animals Environmental Challenges to Farming o Many countries have had significant population growth (but combined, have only half the population of China) Most depend on farming as livelihood o There are a few areas of good soil, ample water, and high productivity Volcanic soils of Mount Kilimanjaro Highlands around the Western Rift Valleys, Ethiopian Highlands, higher- latitude South Africa, and parts of West Africa o Challenges to farming: Climatic variability Political and economic policies of each country o Rainfall in East Africa is dependent on the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone - band of low-pressure air that produces rainfall
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2010 for the course GEOG 101 taught by Professor Heath during the Spring '10 term at Northampton Community College.

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geography_africa_notes - Chapter 6: Subsaharan Africa For...

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