INFOGRAPHIC: It's International Mountain Day and Table Mountain is celebrating

2017-12-11 06:35
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Cape Town - Very few mountains in South Africa are quite as famous as Table Mountain in Cape Town. 

At its highest point (Maclear’s Beacon) Table Mountain sits at 1085m above sea level and to see the phenomenon of the Table Cloth forming above it is quite a sight, although it often also means you're feeling the gusts of the Cape Doctor, prevalent during the summer months. Although this year it even received a dusting of snow.

This year the Table Mountain Cableway celebrated its 88th birthday and on International Mountain Day, Monday 11 December, in partnership with the Geological Society of South Africa it is showcasing the geological wonder of the ancient Mother City icon.

Tag Traveller24_SA in your pics of Table Mountain on Instagram.

SEE: Table Mountain Cableway revamps queuing system ahead of festive season

The infographic, on public display at the Upper Cable Station, reveals four different rock layers which constitute the structure of Table Mountain:

1. Peninsula Formation – comprised of light grey, pebbly sandstones this formation, about 475 to 455million years old, is about 700m thick. It forms most of the cliffs of Table Mountain and can most safely be studied by using the Cableway.

2. Graafwater Formation – between 25m and 65m thick, this reddish brown layer of sandstone and siltstone is about 490 to 485million years old and is the mountain’s thinnest layer.

3. Cape Granite – a hard, coarse-grained, igneous rock, about 540 million years old, which forms the foundation for most of Table Mountain. It is characterised by large white potassium-feldspar crystals, shimmering flakes of brown biotite mica amongst grey glassy quartz.

4. Malmesbury Group – around 560million years old, this forms the foundation of Devil’s Peak and all of Signal Hill. It consists mainly of metamorphosed siltstone and quartzitic greywacke (muddy sandstone).

Interesting facts about Table Mountain:

Our mountain started eroding about 130million years ago when the Super-continent Gondwana started to split up, causing our then-near neighbour, South America to start a slow but sure westward journey, over the western horizon, to form the South Atlantic Ocean, which is now 7000km wide.

It is part of the Cape Floristic Region World Heritage Site, with Table Mountain National Park being home to an incredible 8200 plant species – of which 80% are Fynbos.

At its highest point (Maclear’s Beacon) Table Mountain sits at 1085m above sea level. Table Mountain’s eastern neighbour, Devils Peak, reaches 1000m above sea level and Lion’s Head has its summit at 669m above sea level.

Table Mountain is referred to as Hoerikwaggo by the Khoikhoi people, meaning “Mountain of the Sea”. 

Join the Cableway in celebrating South Africa’s beautiful New7Wonder of Nature this International Mountain Day using the hashtag #InternationalMountainDay.

The Cableway operates weather permitting. Visit or call (021) 424 8181. Useful information is also shared on Twitter.

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