Geology and Relief: The southern landscape of the state forms part of the low plains of the Benue origin. Other parts of the
Lafia Hotel, Lafia
state are composed of undulating lowlands and a network of hills developed on granites, migmatites, pegmatites and gneisses. Around the saltmining village of Awe are a number of worn volcanic cones.
Most parts of the state that lie within the Benue (valley are composed of sandstones. However,) around tshe saltbearing districts of Awe, Keana and Akiri, are detached synclinal areas formed by localised folding. The brine springs of Awa, Azara and Bomanda are associated with anticlinal axes along which saltbearing beds within the synclines ) approach the surface.
The high land areas of the state are found towards the north, notably in Wamba, Nassarawa t Eggon and Akwanga Local government Areas. The Eggon rolling hills for example, rise to an average ; height of about 1,200m. The Maloney Hill in Keffi is of historical significance.
The state is drained by numerous fastflowing streams/rivers that take their source from the Jos Plateau and flow into the River Benue which also marks the state's southern boundary. Prominent among these are the Mada, Dep, Ayini, and Farin Ruwa rivers.
Nassarawa Investment and Mineral development Company Limited, Lafia
Climate: Nassarawa State is characterised by a tropical subhumid climate with two distinct sea sons. The wet season lasts from about the beginning of May and ends in October. The dry season is experienced between November and April. Annual rainfall figures range from 1100 mm to about 2000mm.
About ninety per cent of the rain falls between May and September, the wettest months being July and August. The rain comes in thunder storms of high intensity, particularly at the beginning and towards the end of the rainy season.
Temperatures are generally high during the day, particularly between the months of March and April. The mean monthly temperatures in the state range between 20°C and 34°C, with the hottest months being March/April and the coolest months being December/January.
Soils: The major soil units of Nassarawa State belong to the category of oxisols or tropical ferrugi nous soils (Nyagba, 1995). The soils are derived mainly from the basement complex and old sedi mentary rocks. Lateritic crust occurs in extensive areas on the plains, while hydromorphic soils (humic inceptisols) occur along the flood plains of major rivers.
The Emir's Palace, Lafia
Loamy soils of volcanic origin are found around the volcanic cones of Awe. The hilly areas carry shallow skeletal soils. Many parts of the state are ravaged by both sheet and gully erosion. The major urban centres, particularly Lafia and Keffi, are heavily gulled. Since most of the inhabitants of the state are farmers, extensive areas in the countryside are also cleared for farm ing, thus exposing wide areas of land to sheet ero sion.
Vegetation: Nassarawa State falls within the southern guinea savanna zone. However, clear ance of vegetation for farming, fuel wood extraction for domestic and cottage industrial uses and saw milling has led to the development of regrowth veg etation at various levels of serai development. Dense forests are few and far apart.
Such forests are found in lowland areas, particularly where pop ulation pressure is less on the land. Gallery forests are common along major streams and pronounced depressions. Forest reserves are being developed mostly near major urban centres like Lafia, Nassarawa, Keffi, Akwanga and Wamba.
The veg etation on the hilly parts of the state is composed mainly of grasses and isolated trees. Trees of economic value, including locust bean, shea butter, mango, citrus and banana are scattered across the state, particularly the lowland areas and southern parts of the state.