Great Escarpment


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Great Escarpment

 

a precipice separating the high plateaus of South Africa from the coastal plains. The Great Escarpment runs in a continuous arc, parallel to the Indian and Atlantic oceans, from Southern Rhodesia, around the perimeter of South Africa, to Angola, a distance of more than 2,000 km. It is a flexure that has undergone denudation. Its highest elevations are in the Drakensberg Mountains, where the relative height, in places, exceeds 2,000 m; the mountains reach an elevation of 3,482 m, at Thabana Ntlenyana. Looking from the sea, the escarpment forms a precipice, whose extreme steepness is caused by protrusions of basaltic lavas; individual parts of its latitudinal section, which are composed of dolerites, are referred to as the Sneeuberg, Winterberge, and Nuweveldberge. Along the western coast, the escarpment forms two or three terraces. The Great Escarpment greatly influences the climate of Africa’s southeastern coasts, holding back moisture brought by the southeastern trade winds from the Indian Ocean.

References in periodicals archive ?
Tysoe in fact stands at the edge of a great escarpment from which a striking spur shoots out.
Driving from Cape Town one sees lush, green estates and centuries-old Dutch gabled houses set against the granite majesty of the Cape's Great Escarpment.
These abandoned fortune seekers stand with fixed smiles in the lurid daytime-television landscapes, ringed by blinking lights and great escarpments of technicolor numbers.

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