The Lebombo Mountains, also called Lubombo Mountains (Portuguese: 'Montes Libombos'), are an 800 km-long (500 mi), narrow range of mountains in Southern Africa. They stretch from Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal in the south to Punda Maria in the Limpopo Province in South Africa in the north. Parts of the mountain range are also found in Mozambique and Eswatini.
|(Lubombo / Libombos)|
Part of the Lebombo mountain chain, including Ghost Mountain; seen from Mkuze
|Elevation||776 m (2,546 ft)|
|Listing||List of mountain ranges of South Africa|
|Length||800 km (500 mi) N/S|
|Width||100 km (62 mi) E/W|
|Countries||Mozambique, South Africa and Eswatini|
|Age of rock||Precambrian|
|Type of rock||Rhyolite and basalt|
Geologically, the range is considered a monocline; part of a rifted volcanic margin. The Lebombo monocline was aligned with the Explora Escarpment off-shore Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, before the break-up of Gondwana. The Lebombo monocline strikes N-S and dips to the east. It is composed of a sequence of Jurassic age volcanic rock, both basaltic lavas and rhyolitic flows and tuffs. The sequence rests on essentially horizontal Karoo Supergroup sedimentary rocks of the Kalahari Craton to the west and is overlain by Cretaceous to recent sediments to the east. The alternating resistant rhyolite and easily eroded basalts produce a series of parallel sharp cuesta ridges separated by savanna plains.
The range is relatively low with heights between 400 m (1,300 ft) and less than 800 m (2,600 ft). The highest peak is the 776 m-high (2,546 ft) Mount Mananga. The 480 m-high (1,570 ft) Longwe is the highest point in the Lebombo Range north of the Letaba River.
The mountains dominate Lubombo District in Eswatini. Towns in the area include Siteki in the centre, Lubhuku in the west and Mayaluka and Big Bend in the south with the Lusutfu River running past the southern region of the mountain range. At the north lie the towns of Simunye, Tambankulu and Namaacha, and the Mlawula Nature Reserve as well as the Mbuluzi River.
The name of the mountains is derived from the Zulu word ubombo meaning "big nose".
- Explora Escarpment - an escarpment off the coast of Antarctica which was aligned with the mountains before the breakup of Gondwana.
- Watkeys, M.K. (2002). "Development of the Lebombo rifted volcanic margin of southeast Africa". GSA Special Papers. Geological Society of America. 362. doi:10.1130/0-8137-2362-0.27. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
- Jokat, W.; Boebel, T.; König, M.; Meyer, U. (2003). "Timing and geometry of early Gondwana breakup" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 108 (B9). doi:10.1029/2002JB001802. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
- Manninen, Tuomo, et. al., The Karoo Volcanic Rocks and Related Intrusions in Southern and Central Mozambique, Geological Survey of Finland, 2008, Special Paper 48, pp. 211–250
- Echo System
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