Fouta Djallon(redirected from Fouta Jalon)
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a system of stepped plateaus in West Africa. Elevations range from 300–400 m on the Atlantic coast to approximately 800–1,000 m in the central Fouta Djallon; some massifs reach an elevation of 1,400–1,500 m (Tamgué Massif 1,537 m). The plateaus are composed chiefly of sandstones and argillites, with intrusions of basalts, dolerites, and gabbros. Annual precipitation reaches 1,500 mm. Many of West Africa’s rivers rise in the Fouta Djallon, including the Gambia, the Bafing (the upper course of the Sénégal River), and tributaries of the upper Niger; the local inhabitants call Fouta Djallon “father of waters.” The rivers flow through deep valleys and divide the plateaus into sections. In the past, evergreen equatorial rain forests grew on the region’s red and red-yellow ferralitic soils; they have now been entirely cut down. The local population engages in livestock raising and land cultivation, the principal crops being millet and rice.