Facts about Lake Tanganyika

16 Lake Tanganyika facts

One of the oldest lakes in the world

Lake Tanganyika is one of the most unique and unusual lakes in the world. Because it is isolated from other water reservoirs and the water has been held in it for millions of years, it has developed unique life forms that are found nowhere else in the world.

The lake is home to 250 species of cichlid fish, most of which are endemic species.

It has a very unique chemical composition of water and a very interesting geological structure.

Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika lies within the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift.

It lies on the territory of four African countries: Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Tanzania.

Is one of the oldest lakes in the world.
The only older one is Lake Baikal, which at 25 million years old is about twice as old.
It has three main tributaries: Ruzizi River, Malagarasi River and Kalambo River.
Due to its enormous size and lack of many tributaries, the residence time of Tanganyka is about 5500 years.
It is the second oldest freshwater lake in the world, the second largest by volume, and the second deepest.

It is about the same size as the state of Maryland and two times smaller than Lake Huron.

The lake's ecosystem is very unique and diverse.

Over 2000 species, both plants and animals, are found here, and about 500 of them cannot be seen anywhere else.

Lake Tanganyika belongs to the Congo Basin and is connected to it by Lukuga River.
Lukuga River is about 350 km long and is at times the only outlet of Tanganyika in East Africa.
The lake covers an area of 32,900 km² (12,700 sq mi).

Lake Tanganyika has a shoreline of 1,828km, almost as long as New York to Miami. The water surface of Lake Tanganyika is 773 m (2,536 ft) above sea level.

Tanganyika is the world's longest freshwater lake, it is 673 km (418 mi) long.

It is also the deepest African lake, its average depth is 570 m and the maximum depth is 1,435 m.

The lake is very important for the fishing industry. It provides food for hundreds of thousands of families.

Approximately 100,000 people work in the fishing industry and about 200,000 tons of fish are caught annually in the waters of Tanaganyika.

The tectonic origin determines the environment of the lake.
Tanganyika is surrounded by mountains, some of which reach the shoreline of the lake.
The water of the lake is highly alkaline, the pH varies in the range of 7.5 - 9.2 as well as a fairly high carbonate hardness of 7-11 °n.
The base of the lake is mostly Precambrian granite rocks and igneous rocks rich in magnesium, iron and aluminum.
It consists of three basins that are connected to each other. These are the northern, central and southern basins.

The central basin developed earliest. Lake Tanganyika began to form in the period 12-9 million years ago.

The northern part of Lake Tanganyika developed about 8 - 7 million years ago.

The southern part formed 4 - 2 million years ago when the western lake basin was uplifted. This led to the formation of a tectonic ditch that quickly filled with water.

Sometimes the lake dries up to a considerable extent.
Between 150 and 50 thousand years ago,the water level of the lake dropped so much that it was divided into 3 independent reservoirs located in its deepest parts.
In Lake Tanganyika live hippos, crocodiles and many species of fish, most of which are endemic.

Over 200 endemic species are fish of the cichlid family.

Life in Lake Tanganyika occurs up to a depth of 200 meters.
Due to the low fluctuations in the ambient temperature, surface waters do not mix with deep water, which prevents oxygen transport from the surface to the lower parts of the lake.
In 1883, a species of freshwater jellyfish was discovered in the waters of Tanganyika, which may suggest that the lake was once connected to the ocean or that the jellyfish got into the lake straight from the river.
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