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Paarl Rock - second largest granite outcrop in the world

Paarl Rock. This huge granite rock is formed by three rounded outcrops (also known as a batholiths) that make up Paarl Mountain, which is a granite mountain situated above the town of Paarl in the Western Cape, South Africa. It is the second largest granite outcrop in the world, with Yosemite, USA being the largest.

Granite is an igneous rock, that is, it formed (and still forms) below the surface of the earth by crystallisation of a molten rock, known as magma. The Paarl variety of granite belongs to a group classified as Cape Granite, known to have intruded into the crust of the earth between about 548 million years ago. Cape Granite is distributed from Saldanha Bay in the west to the town of George in the east.

Several separate granites make up Paarl Mountain - of which five varieties have been recognised. The most common variety is known as Bretagne Granite. Laborie Granite, which is mined at the De Hoop granite quarry (located on the southern slopes of Paarl Mountain). Bethel Dam Granite, that occurs only near the western shores of Bethel Dam. Montvue Granite, occurs mostly along the northeastern and northern parts of Paarl Mountain. The fifth granite type is simply known as "quartz porphyry".


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