Buranga Hot Springs

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Mumbuga erupting spring, Sempaya Hot Spring in Uganda
Mumbuga erupting spring, Sempaya Hot Springs / sarahemcc, / CC BY 2.0
Some of the most amazing hot springs in East Africa are Buranga Hot Springs. Currently here are flowing 37 springs which receive the geothermal heat from the deep faults of East African Rift System. One of the springs – Mumbuga spring – is a perpetual spouter – a permanent small fountain.

Lowland rainforest

Buranga springs are located close to Ruwenzori Mountains, at the base of Bwamba escarpment. This remote corner of Uganda is covered with the only remaining East African lowland tropical rainforest. This forest is especially rich with species – here meet animals and plants of western and eastern tropical Africa.

Three groups of hot springs

Buranga springs have formed their own small ecosystems in this lush forest attracting numerous birds (due to swamps around the springs) and animals (due to salt coming out from the depths of Earth). In the springs have been found endemic microorganisms – two previously unknown strains of thermophilic Geobacillus bacteria.

Mumbuga erupting spring, Uganda
Mumbuga erupting spring / sarahemcc, / CC BY 2.0

There are three separate groups of springs, located some 700 m from each other.

Nyansimbe spring (Nyasinbi, tourist guides call it – male pool) has formed a swamp and is acessible only in dry season. This spring has developed a carbonate cone with clear pool of hot water (86°C) in it. Pool has a diameter of 30 m, depth is more than 5 m. Flow rate is 15 l/s.

Mumbuga springs (Mubunga, named female pools by tourist guides) are numerous hot springs in area 60 x 40 m, all springs are depositing carbonates. These springs also can be accessed in dry season. One spring has built 1.5 m tall travertine cone with terraces. Water here forms some 50 cm high fountain, rising above the pool. Water is bubling and emanating gases. Flow rate of these springs is 6.5 l/s. Temperature of spring reaches 98.4°C.

Another hot spring, Buranga Hot Springs in Uganda
Another hot spring, Buranga Hot Springs / sarahemcc, / CC BY 2.0

Kagoro springs are the southernmost. They take an area of 50 x 15 m, enclosed by rainforest. Here the springs also have built up to 1.5 m high travertine cones. At the base of the largest travertine cone are sulphur deposits – the only ones in Buranga. Temperature of water is 60 – 91° C.

Rift and earthquakes

Geothermal activity of Buranga springs is linked to the tectonic activity of rift (Albertine graben – part of the East African Rift System). The hot water here might be rising along the active faults of Earth crust.

Scientists have noticed that after each earthquake hot springs are changing. It happens that some of the older springs disappear and new ones start.

Buranga Hot Springs are included in the following list:

Geysers of Africa
Geysers of Africa

References

  1. Norbert Ochmann, Michael Lindenfeld, Paula Barbirye, Christopher Stadtler, Microearthquake Survey at the Buranga Geothermal Prospect, Western Uganda, Proceedings, Thirty-Second Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering. Accessed on June 15, 2011.
  2. Catherine Nyakecho, Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment for the Development of Buranga Geothermal Prospect, Uganda. 2008. Accessed on June 15, 2011.

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Buranga Hot Springs 0.835180, 30.165375 Buranga Hot Springs
Coordinates: 0.8352 N 30.1654 E
Categories: Thermal springs, Geysers (perpetual spouter)
Values: Geology, Visual
Rating: (3 / 5)
Address: Africa, Uganda, Western Region, Bundibugyo District, Bwamba County, Semuliki National Park
Alternate names: Sempaya Hot Springs, Sempaya Geysers

Landmarks of Uganda

Kasubi royal tombs, Uganda
Kasubi royal tombs / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Uganda can be proud of very rich natural heritage. Tropical forest here have some of the highest species diversity in Africa, country has powerful waterfalls and interesting volcanic landforms.

Geysers

Lake Bogoria, geyser and flamingos
Lake Bogoria, geyser and flamingos / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Hasty hydrogeologist would say: geysers are thermodynamically and hydrodynamically unstable hot springs. “Normal” people would say – geysers are hot springs which at more or less regular intervals shoot up a fountain of boiling water and steam. Sometimes these fountains are even 100 m tall… or even 450 m!

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Africa’s Top Geological Sites


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