What Is A Cape In Geography?

Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

A cape is an elevated landmass that extends deep into the ocean, sea, river, or lake. Capes such as the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa extends from a large continental landmass while others such as Cape Hatteras in North Carolina are part of islands. Capes are similar to peninsulas but much smaller. They are narrower, unlike peninsulas that can extend over a large area and barely connect to the mainland. Capes vary in size, and a country’s coastline can have several capes.

Formation Of Capes

Capes are unique features created through the process of erosion. However, different forces cause the erosions.

Tidal Erosion

The coastline is continuously subjected to tidal forces from the ocean. Over time, the waves erode the rocks and sand. Some shores are composed of rocks with different hardness; the tidal erodes the softer rocks resulting in a cape with an undefined shoreline. The Cape of Good Hope was formed when tides eroded the soft rocks leaving a stretch of hard rocks that extend to the ocean.

Sandy Capes

Although the erosion of the coastlines creates most capes, some are created by building up of the shoreline. When currents flowing to different directions converge in a shallow area near the coast, the sand is pushed together leading to the formation of a landmass. Over the years, the sand became compacted to sandstone. Sandy capes do not last long because they are also vulnerable to erosion.

Famous Capes

Cape Cod along the coast of Massachusetts is historically a favorite spot for tourists. The cape hosts towns, beaches, and villages with excellent restaurants, swimming and marine activities, and outdoor recreations. Cape Cod extends for 65 miles into the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Canaveral is famous for hosting the Kennedy Space Center. The space center was intentionally built in the cape to reduce the risk to people.

Famous Peninsulas

The Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia is the world’s largest peninsula. It spans across nine states with the largest portion being in Saudi Arabia. It was created when tidal eroded a large landmass 23 million years ago. Other peninsulas include the Florida Peninsula, the Korean Peninsula, the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, and the Italian Peninsula.


More in World Facts