Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo 5,893 m (19,334 ft); Mawenzi 5,149 m (16,893 ft); and Shira 3,962 m (13,000 ft). Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo’s crater rim.
Kilimanjaro is a giant stratovolcano that began forming a million years ago, when lava spilled from the Rift Valley zone. Two of its three peaks, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct while Kibo (the highest peak) is dormant and could erupt again. The last major eruption has been dated to 360,000 years ago, while the most recent activity was recorded just 200 years ago.
Although it is dormant, Kilimanjaro has fumaroles that emit gas in the crater on the main summit of Kibo. Scientists concluded in 2003 that molten magma is just 400 m (1,310 ft) below the summit crater.
Several collapses and landslides have occurred on Kibo in the past, one creating the area known as the Western Breach
The meaning and origin of the name Kilimanjaro is a combination of the Swahili word Kilima (meaning “mountain”) and the Kichagga word Njaro, loosely translated as “whiteness”, giving the name White Mountain. The name Kibo in Kichagga means “spotted” and refers to rocks seen on snowfields.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and fourth highest of the Seven Summits. It is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, with Uhuru Peak rising to an altitude of 5,895 m (19,341 ft)