Cape Agulhas

From Academic Kids

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Agulhas.jpg
The marker at Cape Agulhas
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AgulhasLighthouse.jpg
The lighthouse which warned many ships of the cape

Cape Agulhas is the geographic southern tip of the African continent. The name, Portuguese for needles, refers to the rocks and reefs that have wrecked many ships – due to this, a lighthouse was built in 1848. It is an unspectacular rocky beach, and were it not for a survey marker indicating the spot, the very gradual curving of the coastline would make identification of the actual tip quite difficult. It is located in a rural area 170 kilometres east, and a little bit south of Cape Town at Template:Coor dm.

The sea of Cape Agulhas is notorious for winter storms, and mammoth freak waves, which can range up to 30m high and can sink even large ships. This is also the point where the Indian and Atlantic oceans actually meet — not at the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Point as is sometimes thought. South of Cape Agulhas the warm Agulhas Current that flows south along the east coast of Africa retroflects back in the Indian Ocean. While retroflecting it pinches off large ocean eddies (Agulhas rings) that drift into the South Atlantic Ocean and take enormous amounts of heat and salt into the neighboring ocean. This mechanism is one of the key elements in the global Conveyor Belt circulation of heat and salt.

The waters near the coast are quite shallow and known as the best fishing grounds in South Africa, known as the Agulhas Bank. For the first 250 kilometers seawards the sea is less than 100 meters deep, after which it steeply falls away.

See also

da:Kap Agulhas de:Kap Agulhas fr:Cap des Aiguilles it:Capo Agulhas nl:Kaap Agulhas ja:アガラス岬

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