Geology of Tuli

© Cycling trip from Mashatu Lodge
One of the major highlights of the Tuli area is the incredible rock formations that occur in the region. This is because Tuli is located along a fault line in the Earth's crust.Much of the Tuli area has underlying Karoo sediments and younger Stromberg lavas. A characteristic of the Tuli landscape is the abundance of inslebergs (or outcrops) formed from a wide variety of rock types which makes Tuli truly a geologist's paradise!
©Walking up in the rocks at Mashatu Lodge
What geological events resulted in such an exciting landscape? If one can imagine all the rocks scraped off the crust of the earth, the underlying Basement Complex would consist of a number of stable shields, known as cratons, surrounded by less stable mobile belts. It can be best explained by the image of a tortoise shell, the joints being the "mobile belts".

The Tuli Block is situated on one such a mobile belt, namely the Limpopo Mobile belt, which separates the Zimbabwean craton in the north from the Kaapvaal craton in the south. The Limpopo Mobile Belt is the oldest known mobile belt in the world, with rocks varying in age from 2 700 million to 3 700 million years

The cratons themselves are composed of large stable masses of crystalline rocks, mainly granites and metamorphic rock. The mobile belts, on the other hand, are highly unstable and have suffered major deformation associated with igneous activity and metamorphosis.

These metamorphic, strongly folded rocks form the base material and are overlaid by younger sedimentary (sandstone) and igneous rocks (granites and dolerites) - hence the variety. In places the metamorphic rocks are also exposed.

This combination and mixture of rock types creates interesting geological features that will capture the eye and imagination. It is as a result of these huge landforms and amazing vistas, along with the giant trees and dense vegetation that has given the Tuli area the name, 'land of giants'.

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