|Location||Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa|
|Height||5 metres (16 ft)|
|Completion date||December 1844|
|Dedicated to||Thomas Maclear|
Maclear's Beacon is a triangulation station used in the calculation of the curvature of the Earth.
The beacon is on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. It is situated on the Eastern end on the plateau of the mountain.
The beacon is 1,086 metres (3,563 ft) above sea level. Table Mountain’s 19 metres (62 ft) higher than the upper cable car station. The structure consists of man made rock packed in a triangle form, being 5 metres (16 ft) high. It was painted in lamp black colour to make it visible, when light shown on it.
In December 1844, the Astronomer Royal at the Cape, Thomas Maclear,instructed his assistant William Mann to build a beacon in the form of a pile of rocks which would be used to confirm and possibly expand on the existing curvature of the earth data of Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille. This data was in connection with the Cape arc of the meridian. Initially the beacon had no name but in later years it was named after Maclear.
In 1929, the pile of stones collapsed and it was restored in 1979 to commemorate the centenary of Maclear's death.
The beacon is still used by cartographers today. It has become a tourist attraction and hiking trails over the mountain pass next to the beacon. It is also a National Monument.
Abbé Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille, formerly sometimes spelled de la Caille, was a French astronomer and geodesist who named 14 out of the 88 constellations. From 1750 to 1754 he studied the sky at the Cape of Good Hope in present-day South Africa. Lacaille observed over 10,000 stars using just a half-inch refractor.
A mountain is a large landform that rises above the surrounding land in a limited area, usually in the form of a peak. A mountain is generally considered to be steeper than a hill. Mountains are formed through tectonic forces or volcanism. These forces can locally raise the surface of the Earth. Mountains erode slowly through the action of rivers, weather conditions, and glaciers. A few mountains are isolated summits, but most occur in huge mountain ranges.
The Atlas Mountains are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert. It stretches around 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, which is in southwestern Morocco, with an elevation of 4,167 metres (13,671 ft). The Atlas mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations. The terms for 'mountain' are adrar and adras in some Berber languages. These terms are believed to be cognates of the toponym Atlas. The mountains are also home to a number of animals and plants which are mostly found within Africa but some of which can be found in Europe. Many of these species are endangered and a few are already extinct.
Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, and part of the lands formerly ranged by Khoe-speaking clans, such as the !Uriǁʼaes. It is home to a large array of mostly endemic fauna and flora.
In geography and geology, a cliff is a vertical, or nearly vertical, rock exposure. Cliffs are formed as erosion landforms by the processes of weathering and erosion. Cliffs are common on coasts, in mountainous areas, escarpments and along rivers. Cliffs are usually formed by rock that is resistant to weathering and erosion. Sedimentary rocks most likely to form cliffs include sandstone, limestone, chalk, and dolomite. Igneous rocks such as granite and basalt also often form cliffs.
The Drakensberg is the name given to the eastern portion of the Great Escarpment, which encloses the central Southern African plateau. The Great Escarpment reaches its greatest elevation – 2,000 to 3,482 metres within the border region of South Africa and Lesotho.
Devil's Peak is part of the mountainous backdrop to Cape Town, South Africa. When looking at Table Mountain from the city centre, or when looking at the standard picture postcard view of the mountain, the skyline is from left to right: the spire of Devil's Peak, the flat mesa of Table Mountain, the dome of Lion's Head and Signal Hill.
The Karoo is a semi desert natural region of South Africa. No exact definition of what constitutes the Karoo is available, so its extent is also not precisely defined. The Karoo is partly defined by its topography, geology and climate, and above all, its low rainfall, arid air, cloudless skies, and extremes of heat and cold. The Karoo also hosted a well-preserved ecosystem hundreds of million years ago which is now represented by many fossils.
The Cape Peninsula is a generally rocky peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western extremity of the African continent. At the southern end of the peninsula are Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. On the northern end is Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town, South Africa. The peninsula is 52 km long from Mouille point in the north to Cape Point in the south. The Peninsula has been an island on and off for the past 5 million years, as sea levels fell and rose with the ice age and interglacial global warming cycles of, particularly, the Pleistocene. The last time that the Peninsula was an island was about 1.5 million years ago. Soon afterwards it was joined to the mainland by the emergence from the sea of the sandy area now known as the Cape Flats. The towns and villages of the Cape Peninsula and Cape Flats now form part of the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality.
Lion's Head is a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion's Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park.
False Bay is a body of water in the Atlantic Ocean between the mountainous Cape Peninsula and the Hottentots Holland Mountains in the extreme south-west of South Africa. The mouth of the bay faces south and is demarcated by Cape Point to the west and Cape Hangklip to the east. The north side of the bay is the low-lying Cape Flats. Much of the bay is on the coast of the City of Cape Town, and it includes part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area and the whole of the Helderberg Marine Protected Area.
Chapman's Peak is the name of a mountain on the western side of the Cape Peninsula, between Hout Bay and Noordhoek in Cape Town, South Africa. The western flank of the mountain falls sharply for hundreds of metres into the Atlantic Ocean, and a road, known as Chapman's Peak Drive, hugs the near-vertical face of the mountain, linking Hout Bay to Noordhoek. Tourists and locals often stop at viewpoints along this road, which offer views of Hout Bay, The Sentinel Peak and surrounds, as well as over Noordhoek Beach.
Sir Thomas Maclear was an Irish-born South African astronomer who became Her Majesty's astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope.
Kalk Bay is a fishing village on the coast of False Bay, South Africa and is now a suburb of greater Cape Town. It lies between the ocean and sharply rising mountainous heights that are buttressed by crags of grey Table Mountain Sandstone. A literal translation from the Dutch/Afrikaans name "Kalkbaai" is "Lime Bay". This derives from the vast deposits of mussel shells found there, which early settlers burned to make lime for construction. Lime kilns to roast mussel shells are still found along the west coast. The railway from the central business district of Cape Town to Simon's Town passes through Kalk Bay and in some places the line is only metres from the water's edge.
The Karoo Supergroup is the most widespread stratigraphic unit in Africa south of the Kalahari Desert. The supergroup consists of a sequence of units, mostly of nonmarine origin, deposited between the Late Carboniferous and Early Jurassic, a period of about 120 million years.
The Cape Fold Belt is a fold and thrust belt of late Paleozoic age, which affected the sequence of sedimentary rock layers of the Cape Supergroup in the southwestern corner of South Africa. It was originally continuous with the Ventana Mountains near Bahía Blanca in Argentina, the Pensacola Mountains, the Ellsworth Mountains and the Hunter-Bowen orogeny in eastern Australia. The rocks involved are generally sandstones and shales, with the shales persisting in the valley floors while the erosion resistant sandstones form the parallel ranges, the Cape Fold Mountains, which reach a maximum height of 2325 m at Seweweekspoortpiek.
The Great Escarpment is a major topographical feature in Africa that consists of steep slopes from the high central Southern African plateau downward in the direction of the oceans that surround southern Africa on three sides. While it lies predominantly within the borders of South Africa, in the east it extends northward to form the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe, continuing on beyond the Zambezi River valley to form the Muchinga Escarpment in eastern Zambia. In the west, it extends northward into Namibia and Angola.
The Table Mountain Sandstone (TMS) is a group of rock formations within the Cape Supergroup sequence of rocks. Although the term "Table Mountain Sandstone" is still widely used in common parlance, the term TMS is no longer formally recognized; the correct name is the "Peninsula Formation Sandstone", which is part of the Table Mountain Group. The designation "Table Mountain Sandstone" will, however, in deference to the title, continue to be used in the rest of this article. The name is derived from the famous landmark in Cape Town, Table Mountain.
The four Hex River Tunnels consist of a twin tunnel of 0.5 kilometres and three single tunnels of 1.1 kilometres, 1.2 kilometres and 13.5 kilometres, on the Hexton railway route between De Doorns and Kleinstraat through the Hex River Mountains of the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The line, which connects De Doorns in the Hex River valley with Touws River in the Great Karoo, is part of the main rail route between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Of the 30 kilometres of track, 16.8 kilometres are underground. Construction of the line eliminated the bottleneck of the Hex River rail pass.
The Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, is the oldest continuously existing scientific institution in South Africa. Founded by the British Board of Longitude in 1820, it now forms the headquarters building of the South African Astronomical Observatory.