What Type Of Volcano Is Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa and one of the most iconic mountains in the world. But what type of volcano is Kilimanjaro? Let’s explore the geological history of this majestic mountain to find out.

Shield Volcano

Kilimanjaro is classified as a shield volcano, which is a type of volcano that is built almost entirely of fluid lava flows. These lava flows are low in viscosity, meaning they can flow easily and cover large areas, creating a broad, gently sloping mountain. Shield volcanoes are typically formed by numerous eruptions over a long period of time, gradually building up the mountain’s shape.

Formation of Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is actually a dormant volcano, meaning it has not erupted in thousands of years. The mountain is made up of three main volcanic cones – Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Kibo is the highest peak and is capped by a crater known as Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point on the mountain at 19,341 feet above sea level.

The formation of Kilimanjaro began over a million years ago when volcanic activity in the region created a series of eruptions that built up the mountain’s foundation. The last major eruption of Kilimanjaro is believed to have occurred around 360,000 years ago. Since then, the mountain has been shaped by glaciation and erosion, giving it its distinctive appearance.

Unique Ecosystem

Despite its high altitude, Kilimanjaro is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, from lush rainforests at the base of the mountain to alpine deserts near the summit. This unique combination of habitats has led to a high level of biodiversity, with many plant and animal species found only on Kilimanjaro.


In conclusion, Kilimanjaro is a shield volcano that has been shaped by millions of years of volcanic activity, glaciation, and erosion. Its unique ecosystem and stunning beauty make it a popular destination for hikers and climbers from around the world. Whether you’re interested in geology, ecology, or simply want to challenge yourself with a trek to the summit, Kilimanjaro is a truly remarkable natural wonder.

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