Kopje, Tor and Balancing rocks

Kopje, Tor and Balancing rocks

A Kopje. Image credit MediaWiki.

A Kopje. Image credit MediaWiki.

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Landforms resulting from Weathering: Kopjes

Tors/Kopjes/Castle kopjes

  • Tors/kopjes/castle kopjes are inselbergs.
  • Tors the same as kopjes even though some books make an attempt to distinguish between the two.
  • Different names are applied in different localities to what are essentially the same landforms.
  • Kopje is an Afrikaans word meaning a small and isolated hill made of granite rock piles.
  • Tor is a Scotish word meaning hill.
  • They appear appear as  a large, free-standing rock outcrop that rises abruptly from the surrounding smooth and gentle slopes of a rounded hill summit or ridge crest.
  • They are resistant rock features that have been made by weathering.
  • They are usually less than 5 meters in height.
  • They are a result of marginal subsurface weathering of domed landforms.
  • Granite intrusions are weathered beneath the surface due to acidic water penetrating joints in the rock.
  • When the rock is exposed the rotten parts are washed away by erosion.
  • Weathering continues in the form of both mechanical and chemical weathering.
  • Because these rocks have rectangular joints, chemical and mechanical weathering takes place in these joints.
  • The regolith (weathered/rotten parts of the rock) is stripped away by erosion to form a kopje/tor.
  • If the joints are close together the whole mass collapses and is washed away,
  • However if the joints a wider blocks of rocks fall away from the main rock creating tors/kopjes.
  • They are sometimes remnants of dwalas and bornhardts such as Dwalas/ Bornhadts and inselbergs/Monadnocks.
  • They are usually found in temperate latitudes.
  • Because of their morphology (shape) kopjes are known is some localities as castle kopjes.

Balancing rocks

  • These are a result of continued weathering on kopjes and tors.
  • If the joints in the rocks that form kopjes and tors are further apart massive chunks of rock may withstand the denudation processes to remain balancing one on top of another.
  • An example are the Balancing Rocks in Epworth.
The balancing rocks in Epworth.

The balancing rocks in Epworth. Image credit travelozimbabwe.com

To access more topics go to the Geography Notes page.

By |2017-01-17T11:22:08+00:00June 11th, 2015|Landform Studies, Notes, O Level Geography, Ordinary Level Notes|Comments Off on Kopje, Tor and Balancing rocks

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