Africa — страница 9

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remarkable manifestation of volcanic activity which again has its parallel in the Deccan traps of India. How far the Karroo formation extended beyond its present confines has not been determined. To the east it reached India. In the south all that can be said is that it extended to the south of Worcester in Cape Colony. The Crystal Mountains of Angola may represent its western boundary; while the absence of mesozoic strata beneath the Cretaceous rocks of the mid-Sahara indicates that the system of Karroo lakeland had here reached its most northerly extension. Towards the close of the Karroo period, possibly about the middle, the southern rim of the great central depression became ridged up to form the folded regions of the Zwaarteberg, Cedarberg and Langeberg mountains in Cape

Colony. This folded belt gives Africa its abrupt southern termination, and may be regarded as an embryonic indication of its present outline. The exact date of the maximum development of this folding is unknown, but it had done its work and some 10,000 ft. of strata had been removed before the commencement of the Cretaceous period. It appears to approximate in time to the similar earth movement and denudation at the close of the palaeozoic period in Europe. It was doubtless connected with the disruption of Gondwana Land, since it is known that this great alteration of geographical outline commenced in Jurassic times. The breaking up of Gondwana Land is usually considered to have been caused by a series of blocks of country being let down by faulting with the consequent formation

of the Indian Ocean. Other blocks, termed horsts, remained unmoved, the island of Madagascar affording a striking example. In the African portion Ruwenzori is regarded by some geologists to be a block mountain or horst. In Jurassic times 1he sea gained access to East Africa north of Mozambique, but does not appear to have reached far beyond the foot-plateau except in Abyssinia. The Cretaceous seas appear to have extended into the central Saharan regions, for fossils of this age have been discovered in the interior. On the west coast Cretaceous rocks extend continuously from Mogador to Cape Blanco. From here they are absent up to the Gabun river, where they commence to form a narrow fringe as far as the Kunene river, though often overlain by recent deposits. They are again absent

up to the Sunday river in Cape Colony, where Lower Cretaceous rocks (for long considered to be of Oolitic age) of an inshore character are met with. Strata of Upper Cretaceous age occur in Pondoland and Natal, and are of exceptional interest since the fossils show an intermingling of Pacific types with other forms having European affinities. In Mozambique and in German East Africa, Cretaceous rocks extend from the coast to a distance inland of over 100 m. Except in northern Africa, the Tertiary formations only occur in a few isolated patches on the east and west coasts. In northern Africa they are well developed and of much interest. They contain the well-known nummulitic limestone of Eocene age, which has been traced from Egypt across Asia to China. The Upper Eocene rocks of

Egypt have also yielded primeval types of the Proboscidea and other mammalia. Evidences for the greater extension of the Eocene seas than was formerly considered to be the case have been discovered around Sokoto. During Miocene times Passarge considers that the region of the Zambezi underwent extreme desiccation. The effect of the Glacial epoch in Europe is shown in northern Africa by the moraines of the higher Atlas, and the wider extension of the glaciers on Kilimanjaro, Kenya and Ruwenzori, and by the extensive accumulations of gravel over the Sahara. The earliest signs of igneous activity in Africa are to be found in the granites, intrusive into the older rocks of the Cape peninsula, into those of the Transvaal, and into the gneisses and schists of Central Africa. The

Ventersdorp boulder beds of the Transvaal may be of early palaeozoic age; but as a whole the palaeozoic period in Africa was remarkably free from volcanic and igneous disturbances. The close of the Stormberg period (Rhaetic) was one of great volcanic activity in South Africa. Whilst the later Secondary and Tertiary formations were being laid down in North Africa and around the margins of the rest of the continent, Africa received its last great accumulation of strata and at the same time underwent a consecutive series of earth-movements. The additional strata consist of the immense quantities of volcanic material on the plateau of East Africa, the basalt flows of West Africa and possibly those of the Zambezi basin. The exact period of the commencement of volcanic activity is