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Table Mountain National Park

Geology

Although not strictly part of Biodiversity Management, the unique and often oddly shaped geology of the Table Mountain National Park deserves a mention.

The Cape Peninsula is composed of three main rock formations of varying ages.

  • The Malmesbury Group, around 540 million years old, consists of dark grey mudstones and lighter coloured sandstones. Examples of this formation can be seen on Signal Hill and the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak
  • Cape Granite, around 540 million years old, is much harder and coarse-grained characterised by large white feldspar crystals, shimmering flakes of black mica and grey glassy quartz. This formation is the foundation for most of the Table Mountain Chain and good examples of granite outcrops can be seen at Boulders, Chapman’s Peak and Lion’s Head.
  • Table Mountain Group, only 520 million years old, comprised of a further three formations:
    • The Graafwater formation: This layer is around 25m-65m thick and consists of sandstone and mudstone in red and purple hues.
    • The Peninsula Formation comprised of light grey, pebbly sandstones, forms the bulk of Table Mountain and is around 700m thick.
    • The Pakhuis Formation found on the top of Table Mountain and identifiable by glacially deposited pebbles of sandstone.

For more information please visit: http://web.uct.ac.za/depts/geolsci/cape.htm

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