Kilimanjaro is a giant stratovolcano (A volcano composed of both lava flows and pyroclastic material) reaching an elevation of 19,335 ft (5,895 m)! That’s tall enough to maintain a permanent snow cap just 210 miles (330 km) south of the equator. Other names for this volcano are: Kilima Dscharo, Oldoinyo Oibor (White Mountain in Masai), and Kilima Njaro (Shining Mountain in Swahili). This volcano's highest and youngest cone is named Kibo. Kilimanjaro is a triple volcano (has three peaks) with Shira 7.5-8.7 miles (12-14 km) to the west and Mawenzi to the east of Kibo, the middle peak. These are older cones that make up Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is the largest of an East -West belt of about 20 volcanoes near the southern end of the East African Rift Valley.
Kibo has not been active in modern times, but steam and sulfur are still emitted. At the top of Kibo's summit is a 1.2 x 1.7 mile (1.9 x 2.7 km) caldera, with an inner crater nearly a mile (1.3 km) wide, and inside that a deep 1,148 ft (350 m) wide central pit. Original volcanic forms are preserved at the summit and on many of the flanks, except on the south side where glaciers have cut deeply into the cone. Nearly 250 other, smaller cones occur on Kilimanjaro.
The gentle lower slopes steepen to 30° about 13,000 ft (4 km) elevation. Shira is topped by a broad plateau (perhaps a filled caldera) and erosion has cut deeply into a remnant rim. In contrast, Mawenzi's summit is a steep rocky peak surrounded by cliffs 1,600 ft (0.5 km) to 4,900 ft (1.5 km) high. Erosion has removed the original crater, and a great horseshoe shaped ridge opens to the northeast. Mile-deep gullies with 30-45 degree gradients make many places practically inaccessible. Massive series of radial and concentric dyke swarm make up more than 30-40 percent of the summit area of Mawenzi.