Guest Post: 320 million year old glacier tracks at Oorlogskloof

Text and photos by Estie.

The flowers of Nieuwoudtville are spectacular and well known, but I must confess that I have never been there in the flowering season, when the town is hive of excitement. I plan to go this year and hopefully I can show you some of my own photos. The “season” as it is called is the six weeks from mid-August until the end of September, when you can see the spring flowers at their best. It is also in the middle of the school term and that’s the reason I have not been there then. Maybe also because the peace and quiet of the little town is what I really prefer.

But then I like going to places off the beaten track. One of these places is the glacial floor on the farm Oorlogskloof . (“Oorlog”meaning war, and referring to a war between the Khoikhoi and the early settlers.)

From the Western Cape Branch of the Geological Society of South Africa:

About 300 million years ago, glacial conditions prevailed over Southern Africa when it migrated with the rest of the Gondwana supercontinent over the South Pole. The ridges and striations in the sandstone were formed as a result of ice movement during this time. The bedrock consists of upper Table Mountain Group sandstone, dating back to about 420 million years, whereas the glaciation occurred some 100 million years later.

Seeing these marks makes the whole history more real . For a long time the history of the earth and evolution was not taught in our schools. We have a whole generation of people growing up with the idea that evolution is not science, but a religion. I try to take photos and use them as teaching aids to make the facts more interesting. (My students seem to enjoy it, but with them you do not always know!) The students seem to understand the basic concepts of change over time.

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Categories: Guest Bloggers, Nature/Environment, Random, Science/Technology


I am a Life Science teacher (another scientist trying to write), living near Cape Town, with a passion for nature, reading and crafts.


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6 Comments on “Guest Post: 320 million year old glacier tracks at Oorlogskloof”

  1. March 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Cool rocks, Estie! Can’t wait to see the flower photos you eventually take!

    Well done, and thank you!

    • Estie
      March 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

      Thank you. I haved booked my place for the “season”. Hopefully they will have enough rain to ensure a ” good season”.

  2. Willie
    March 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Very interesting Estie !! Amazing to think that the barren area at Nieuwoudtville once had glaciers.

    • Estie
      March 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      Thank you. It is difficult to believe.

  3. March 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Wow, makes us humans seem like such a tiny snippet in time.

    • Estie
      March 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

      Well said!

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