Satellite images of Mount Kilimanjaro reveal diverse vegetation •

Satellite images of Mount Kilimanjaro reveal diverse vegetation

Today’s Image of the Day comes courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory and features a stunning wide shot of Africa’s tallest mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro. This natural-color image was taken on January 20, 2017 by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite.

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania and measures approximately 17,000 feet high. Classified as a stratovolcano, Kilimanjaro is composed of three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira.

Despite sitting just south of the equator, the dormant volcano is capped with snow and ice. In order to reach the summit, however, one must pass through a variety of vegetation zones.

At the base of the mountain lowlands is a hot savanna, labeled “Cultivated land” in the photo. While the conditions are too dry for natural vegetation, inhabitants of the region have maximized the rich volcanic soil by growing maize and beans.

Continuing the ascent up the mountain, next up in the darker green area is the Kilimanjaro National Park. The park consists primarily of montane forests, where conditions are wet and humid along upward slopes consisting mainly of large evergreen trees. Natural forests cover about 1,000 square kilometers of the mountain.

Even higher up on the mountain, the forests make way for the brownish area known as the Moorland zone. While there is still some vegetation here, the colder climate allows only for durable plants such as senecios and lobelias.

Finally, at the summit, the alpine desert and icy conditions allow for very little vegetation. Still, the view from the top is nothing short of extraordinary, prompting many adventure-seekers to attempt the famous trek up the mountain.

In 2013, Kilimanjaro National Park raked in $51 million in revenue. In the 2011-2012 season, 57,456 tourists visited Mount Kilimanjaro, 16,425 of which hiked the mountain.

By Rory Arnold, Staff Writer

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

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