Table Mountain is famous for many things. In 2011 it rose to global fame when it was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is also one of the oldest mountains in the world. But despite all of these great accolades, many people know of it because of its flat top.
I was on Bloubergstrand Beach trying to take a sunset photo of Table Mountain. While I was waiting for the sun to set, I was wondering: Why is Table Mountain flat?
I did a bit of research and found a very interesting answer to this question.
Let’s call Manny, Sid, and Diego and journey back to the ice age…
Why Table Mountain is flat
This will be hard to believe, but millions of years ago, Table Mountain’s top was still at sea level. During an ice age, which took place over 300 million years ago, sheets of ice flattened the sandstone and formed the flat table top.
Sandstone is a soft rock, but luckily not all the rocks of Table Mountain are made of sandstone. If this was the case it would not have kept its structure. Table Mountain’s strength comes from layers of hard granite which was formed by magma that cooled down underground.
Back then though, Table Mountain wasn’t the 1086m high landmark we know today. Millions of years ago, tectonic stress was caused by the continents splitting apart. Due to the strength of the granite rocks, this stress caused the layers of rock to rise. Many years after that, Table Mountain came to be, and luckily its flat top kept its shape.
Video of Table Mountain’s flat top
This video shows Table Mountain’s flat top from an angle not often seen. Take a look and enjoy the breathtaking views.
How Table Mountain’s flat face was formed
Another interesting thing I discovered when doing research on this topic is that there’s a story about how Table Mountain’s flat face was formed. The flat face was caused by waves repeatedly crashing against it. Hard to believe that it was once possible to catch a wave to Table Mountain, isn’t it?