Stoep Stories No 14

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Wednesday, 14th May 2014

OLD BUT REALLY OLD GRAAFF – REINET

STOEP STORIES - TALES FROM THE KAROO

Published by the Graaff-Reinet Heritage Society

By JDP

Apparent to the eyes of visitors is the layered nature of the rock formations of the hills and koppies around Graaff – Reinet the layers originated as banks of clay or sand laid down by stream action. Many millions of years ago a general uplift of Southern Africa caused erosion by rivers and streams to carve into the Karoo sandstones and shales and much of the history of the Karoo Supergroup can be seen in studying sections cut through the rocks by natural weathering. Along the slopes of the koppies immediately west of the town very old river channels can be seen. In these as elsewhere in the Karoo there are fossilized bones of mammal like reptiles. 

These animals lived in prehistoric Karoo marshlands as many died their bones and skeletons were washed into lakes and pools and rapidly covered in mud. The Karoo shale is composed of this hardened mud. Fossil bones after having been buried for  over 200 million years are being exposed in the Graaff – Reinet area and provide a unique insight into the animal life of our world long before birds and mammals evolved and very long before man walked the earth. 

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