Tibesti Mountains

Tibesti Mountains

The Tibesti Mountains are a group of dormant volcanoes forming a mountain range in the central Sahara desert in the Bourkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region of northern Chad. The northern slopes extend a short distance into southern Libya.

Geography and climate

The mountains are the largest and highest range in the Sahara. The highest peak is Emi Koussi, 3,415 m. Other summits include Kegueur Terbi (3,376 m), Tarso Taro (3,325 m), the active volcano Pic Tousside (3,265 m) and Soborom (3,100 m). While the high peaks themselves are all constituted of volcanic material, the mountains stand on broad uplifted area possibly caused by a mantle plume.

The range has a substantially wetter climate than the arid surrounding desert; annual rainfall is estimated at five inches (12 cm) in some of the highest areas of the mountains.


The mountains are known for their ancient cave paintings, mostly dating from the 5th to the 3rd millennium BC, and for the geysers and hot springs around Soboroum.

The area has long been home to the Toubou people which had trading relations with Carthage from the 500s BC. The main town in the area is Bardaï, while Zouar and Aouzou are smaller settlements.


  • Gourgaud A. and P. M. Vincent. 2004. Petrology of two continental alkaline intraplate series at Emi Koussi volcano, Tibesti, Chad. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 129(4): 261-290.

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