2002 NASA MODIS satellite picture. The dotted grey line is the border between Congo (DRC) (left) and Uganda (right).
|Primary inflows||Victoria Nile|
|Primary outflows||Albert Nile|
|Basin countries||Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda|
|Max. length||160 km|
|Max. width||30 km|
|Surface area||5,300 km² (2,046 sq. mi.)|
|Average depth||25 m|
|Max. depth||58 m|
|Water volume||132 km³|
|Surface elevation||615 m (2,018 ft)|
Lake Albert is located in the center of the continent, on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). Lake Albert is the northernmost of the chain of lakes in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. It is about 160 km (100 mi) long and 30 km (19 mi) wide, with a maximum depth of 51 m (168 ft), and a surface elevation of 619 m (2,030 ft) above sea level.
Lake Albert is part of the complicated system of the upper Nile. Its main sources are the Victoria Nile, ultimately coming from Lake Victoria to the southeast, and the Semliki River, which issues from Lake Edward to the southwest. The water of the Victoria Nile is much less saline than that of Lake Albert. Its outlet, at the northernmost tip of the lake, is the Albert Nile (which becomes known as the Mountain Nile when it enters South Sudan).
At the southern end of the lake, where the Semliki comes in, there are swamps. Farther south loom the mighty Ruwenzori Range, while a range of hills called the Blue Mountains tower over the northwestern shore. The few settlements along the shore include Butiaba and Pakwach.
In 1864 the explorer Samuel Baker & Sass Flóra found the lake and named it after the recently deceased Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. In the 20th century Congolese president Mobutu Sese Seko temporarily named the lake after himself.
European colonialists operated shipping on the lake. The British planned shipping on Lake Albert as part of a network of railway, river steamer and lake steamer services linking British interests in Egypt, East Africa and southern Africa. The Thornycroft shipyard at Woolston, Hampshire built the cargo and passenger ship SS Robert Coryndon for this purpose in 1930. She was named after the British Army officer Robert Thorne Coryndon, who was Governor of Uganda 1918-22. Sir Winston Churchill described the ship as "the best library afloat" and Ernest Hemingway called her "magnificence on water". She either was scuttled in 1962 or sank in 1964. She remains unsalvaged and partly submerged in the lake.
Heritage Oil and Tullow Oil have announced major oil finds in the Lake Albert basin, with estimates that the multi-billion barrel field will prove to be the largest onshore field found in sub-saharan Africa for more than twenty years.
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