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Grade 5

The physical structure of south africa

Module 7

The structure of the rsa

  • The surface of the RSA is not as flat as a tabletop. The uneven nature of the surface has to do with the structure or morphology of the land. Landforms such as coastal plains, lowlands, plateaux, mountains and rivers constitute the structure of the land.
  • If you look at the relief map of the RSA below, or at any physical map of the RSA in an atlas, you will understand that different parts of our country are situated on different altitudes above sea level.

Figure 1

  • Different colours are used on such a relief map to indicate the different altitudes above sea level:

Green = lowest areas, e.g. coastal regions

Yellow = just higher than the green areas (Little Karoo)

Orange = higher areas

Brown = mountains

Purple / white = highest mountain peaks

Blue = water

  • Use your atlas and colour your map according to the above-mentioned colour key.

Morphological areas of the rsa

Coastline and coastal plains

  • The coastline is the area where the land meets the sea. The RSA has a very long and almost unbroken coastline with few capes (points such as Cape Point) and few bays (such as Table Bay and False Bay). The only area where both these are to be found, is the Cape Peninsula.

Figure 2

  • The coastal plain is the low-lying area along the coast. The coastal plain of the RSA forms a narrow band between the sea and the mountains of the escarpment.

The little karoo and the great karoo

Figure 3

  • There is, however, an area between the sea and the escarpment where one first has to climb a few “steps” to reach the escarpment. These “steps” are called the Karoo. “Karoo” is a word meaning hard. Thus it is a hard, dry region.
  • It comprises two flat smaller plateaux between mountain ranges.
  • From the south coast (Mossel Bay) the land rises gradually from the coastal plain to the Outeniqua Mountains and the Langeberg. The low-lying area that follows this and lies just before the Swartberg Mountains is called the Little Karoo. To the north of the Swartberg range lies the Great Karoo , which is situated one step higher than the Little Karoo. It is found just before the Nuweveld Mountains, which form part of the escarpment.

Plateau and escarpment

  • The escarpment indicates where the plateau of the interior begins, and forms an unbroken mountain chain. It begins with the Kamiesberg range in the northwest, and towards the south it becomes the Roggeveld Mountains . It then veers towards the east, where the Nuweveld , Sneeu , and Storm mountain ranges are found. In the northwest one finds the Drakensberg range. Here the escarpment is much higher than elsewhere. The highest peaks of the Drakensberg are Mont-Aux-Sources (3 299 m) and Thaba Ntlenyana (3 482 m). The escarpment forms our country’s most important watershed.
  • The mountains of South Africa were formed by curvature, shifting or folding, just like all other mountains throughout the world. The Hex River Mountains, the Cederberg Mountains, the Swartberg range and the Langeberg Mountains are, for example, all fold mountains in sedimentary rock. Many of these have become flattened by erosion, and one does not see much of it. Examples of igneous rock can be seen in the Drakensberg range.
  • Unfortunately the escarpment prevents moist air from the sea reaching the interior plateau , which causes frequent droughts in the interior of the country.
  • The interior plateau is the vast stretch of land that is situated to the interior of the escarpment. It covers the greatest part of the RSA and lies from 900 m (west) to 3 000 m (east) above sea level.

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Social sciences: geography grade 5. OpenStax CNX. Sep 23, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10986/1.2
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