Lake Magadi, Kenya | John Seach


Lake Magadi is located in the southern Kenyan Rift Valley. It is easily reached in a day trip from Nairobi. The lake provides the world's largest source of soda.

Lake Magadi is located 100 km southwest of Nairobi and 20 km north of the Tanzanian border. In this area the Rift Valley is a narrow graben 60-70 km wide. Further south the rift valley changes to a broad depression.

Lake Magadi tilapia (Oreochromis alcalicus grahami) are able to survive in temperatures of 42.8 deg C and in an alkaline environment. Fish have been observed gulping air. Aerial respiration is a means to obtain extra oxygen in the low partial pressure pools.

Lake Magadi, Kenya

The Magadi Rift is the most seismically active part of the Kenyan Rift Valley. A survey in 2001 recorded 10 earthquakes per day and a seismic swarm with 300 events. Lake Magadi occupies the deepest depression of the rift valley (580 m). The graben has no outlet and is fed by numerous (partly hot) springs and rainfall.

Volcanoes of Magadi region
Volcanic cones in the Magadi area include Shombole, Lenderut, Shanamu and Olorgesailie.

Rift Valley Lakes of Kenya

Lake Magadi Lake Bogoria
Lake Naivasha Lake Baringo
Lake Elementeita Lake Logipi
Lake Nakuru Lake Turkana

Further reading
Eugster, H.P., 1980. Lake Magadi, Kenya, and its precursors. In Developments in Sedimentology (Vol. 28, pp. 195-232). Elsevier.

Jones, B.F., Eugster, H.P. and Rettig, S.L., 1977. Hydrochemistry of the lake Magadi basin, Kenya. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta41(1), pp.53-72.