Ethiopian Plateau

Ethiopian Plateau

 

(also Amhara Plateau), a tableland in northeastern Africa, primarily in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Plateau extends from Lake Turkana to the lower course of the Barka River—that is, from 5° to 18° N lat. Elevations increase from 2,000 m in the southwest to 3,000 m in the northeast. The tableland drops off abruptly in the east and descends in steps in the west.

The northern part of the Ethiopian Plateau (to 15° N lat.) is a peneplain formed on crystalline rocks, with isolated mountain peaks; to the south are mesa-like lava plateaus, known as ambas, that are separated by deep canyon-like valleys into massifs difficult of access. The highest peak is Ras Dashan (4,623 m) in the Semien Mountains. Southwest of the mountains is a vast inter-montane depression that includes Lake Tana. In the southeast the tableland descends in steps to a deep fault depression that forms the border of the Somali Plateau. Transverse lava sheets divide the depression into several basins; fumaroles and hot springs are found on its floor and along its periphery.

The tableland has a hot, subequatorial climate, with a wet summer. A marked altitudinal zonation of climate, soils, and vegetation is observed. The climates of the western and eastern slopes differ sharply. The western slopes receive abundant precipitation in the summer and about 1,500 mm annually. In summer, hot winds similar to foehns often move down the eastern slopes, which are dry; precipitation (about 500 mm annually) falls primarily in winter. High in the mountains there are winter snowfalls.

The Ethiopian Plateau has an extensive river network. The large rivers of the Nile-Blue Nile, Atbara, and Baro basins, which flow through deep canyons, have many rapids and are not navigable.

The soil and vegetation zones are most highly developed on the windward western slope. The lowest zone—the quolla (to 1,700–1,800 m)—has an average annual temperature of at least 20°C, with tropical rain forests and, on the interfluvial benches, high-grass and dry (in the north) savannas. In the woina dega zone (to 2,400 m) average monthly temperatures range from 13° to 16–18°C; there is savanna vegetation, with palms, acacias, and Euphorbia candelabrum. In the dega zone (2,400–4,000 m), where temperatures drop sharply, coniferous forests of juniper trees grow on the mountain slopes, giving way to high-mountain steppes. The three zones have long been cultivated and produce many varieties of grain crops, notably durum wheat, rye, and barley. Maize, oil-bearing plants, citrus trees, and coffee trees are also cultivated.

The fauna of the Ethiopian Plateau is quite diverse, with such herbivores as giraffes, elephants, zebras, and antelope and such predators as the leopard, Senegalese lion, lynx, and hyena. Rhinoceroses and hippapotamuses live near the rivers. The numerous apes include green monkeys, geladababoons, and anubis baboons. The bird life is especially rich and diverse.

References in periodicals archive ?
The committee said in its daily report that data collected from the main stations and satellite pictures showed rainy clouds on the Ethiopian plateau which means that water levels would continue to increase in most of the Nile reaches.
The committee in its Monday meeting reviewed the water situation at the upper sources and along the Blue Nile course, the River Nile, Atbara River and data reported from the main stations and satellite images, pointing to existence of rainy clouds at the Ethiopian Plateau.
He added : 'The establishment of the dam leads to the transfer of water supply from the front of Lake Nasser to the Ethiopian plateau, which means full Ethiopian control of every drop of water, as well as causing an environmental imbalance stirring seismic activity in the region as a result of the massive water weight laden with silt withheld in front of the dam, estimated by experts at more than 63 billion tonnes'.
Khartoum, Shawwal 08, 1433, August 26, 2012, SPA -- Officials in the northern State of Nahr Al-Neel (river Nile) of The Sudan said today that 30 villages accommodating more than 5,000 families were totally isolated from the rest of the state due to flooding Atbara river pouring from the Ethiopian plateau.
Summary: Nile River levels have risen substantially due to heavy rain falling on the Ethiopian plateau.
Allam said that Ethiopia is an important partner for Egypt and Sudan, and 85 percent of the proceeds of the river coming to Egypt are from the Ethiopian plateau, which reflects the interest and the political leadership's keenness to activate cooperation with Ethiopia for the benefit of the interests of both peoples.
A cursory study of the ceramics by Jacke Phillips, and a more recent study by Chester Cain, have concluded that the lowest levels of this site may date from pre-Aksumite times, thus making it an early indicator of urbanism and socio-cultural complexity on the high Ethiopian plateau.
The Committee noted in the statement issued today, Friday, to existence of a rainy cloudsin the Ethiopian plateau, expecting the continuation of increase of water levels The statement added that the overall situation will be as follows: Damazin - Sennar will witness a slight rise Sennar - Khartoum: stable Khartoum - Atbara: stable Khashm Al- Girba - Atbara: witnesses a remarkable increase Atbara - Merwe Dam: will rise Merwe Dam - Debba - Dongola: stable The statement called on the citizens and the authorities concerned to take the necessary precautions and measures to protect the lives and property especially the mandates of Khartoum and Nahr Al-Neil states .
The establishment of the dam leads to the transfer of water supply from the front of Lake Nasser to the Ethiopian plateau, which means full Ethiopian control of every drop of water, as well as [causing] an environmental imbalance stirring seismic activity in the region as a result of the massive water weight laden with silt withheld in front of the dam, estimated by experts at more than 63 billion tonnes," he added.

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