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Hi to all!!

It has been a veeeery long time since I last posted on TE!!

This shot was taken in the majestic Drakensberg

More info about the Drankensberg below courtesy of Wikipedia:

Location

The range is located in the eastern part of South Africa, running for some 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from south-west to north-east. The mountains drain on the western slopes by the Orange and Vaal rivers, and on the east and south by a number of smaller rivers, the Tugela being the largest. The range separates KwaZulu-Natal Province from Free State Province, looming over the nearby coast of Natal.

A Guide to the Drakensberg describes the escarpment as lying "parallel to the south-eastern coast of South Africa from the Northern Province to the Eastern Cape."[1] In the vicinity of Giant's Castle, it "swings to the south-west and enters the Eastern Cape", splitting there into the separate ranges of Stormberg, Bamboes, Suurberg, Nieuveld and Komsberg.

Geological origins

During the Pre-Cambrian era, volcanic eruptions in the area resulted in lava covering large sections of the Southern African sub-continent. In the Mesozoic era, wind and water deposited thick layers of shale, mudstone and sandstone, now known as the Karoo Supergroup, over the ancient primary rock. When Gondwanaland began to break up 200 million years ago, the resultant forces caused the extrusion of magma, known as Drakensberg lava, through fissures and cracks in the earth's surface.[1] In the Drakensberg region it capped the sedimentary rock formations with layers of solid basalt up to 1400 m thick. Weathering reduced the range's size, and caused the plateau to recede. In modern times, continued erosion has exposed some of the underlying sediment.

Geomorphology

Appearance

The mountains are capped by a layer of basalt approximately 1,400 m thick, with sandstone lower down, resulting in a combination of steep-sided blocks and pinnacles.

Composition

The majority of the range is basalt, as a result of continental upheaval and volcanic activity in the Pre-Cambrian era. Many of the lava flows are characterized by amygdaloidal zones.[2] Many of the primary minerals within the basalts have been subjected to varying degrees of deuteric alteration which has led to the formation of clay, as well as chlorite and zeolite to a lesser extent.[2] Some interstitial glass has also broken down to form clay. These secondary minerals, together with zeolites which occur notably as amygdaloidal fillings, mean that many of the basalts break down rapidly on exposure. The breakdown results from the expansion which occurs when the clay minerals swell on absorption of water.

Highest peaks

The highest peak is Thabana Ntlenyana, at 3,482 metres (11,420 ft). Other notable peaks include Mafadi at 3,450 m, Makoaneng at 3,416 m, Njesuthi at 3,408 m, Champagne Castle at 3,377 m, Giant's Castle at 3,315 m, and Ben Macdhui at 3,001 m. All of these are in the area bordering on Lesotho; north of Lesotho the range becomes lower and less rugged until entering Mpumalanga where the quartzite mountains of the Transvaal Drakensberg are more broken. The Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga is within the Northern reaches of the Drakensberg, though its geology appears different due to the lack of a Basalt cap. South Africa's Drakensberg mountains are home to the world's second-highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls (Thukela Falls), with a total drop of 947 metres.

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Additional Photos by Costa Mihail (cozy) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 84 W: 15 N: 157] (998)
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