Columnar Joints Unveiled At The Tropic Of Capricorn

The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism through the Department of National Museum and Monuments on 27th March 2018 hosted the Unveiling of Columnar Joints at the Tropic of Capricorn as well as the Unveiling of Elephant Sculpture at Kasane Airport on the 28th March 2018. The unveiling events will both be conducted by the President of the Republic of Botswana Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama at 1130hrs on each date.

The Tropic of Capricorn is one of the three imaginary lines along with the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator which are believed to cut across the planet Earth with the Equator being the longest line of latitude. The imaginary lines are based on the position of the Sun in relation to the movement of the planet Earth during the two Solstices, that is, the months of June and December.

Columnar Joints have been installed as a landmark

The Tropic of Capricorn is 23` 26` and 22` south of and also parallel to the equator, it runs through Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Australia, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Namibia. It is believed that the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn on 21st December each year.

At this site Columnar Joints have been installed as a landmark. Columnar joints are a rare natural or geological formation of regular polygonal prisms or columns which form when volcanic rocks cool or contract. The columns usually vary from 3 metres to a few centimetres in diameter and can be as much as 30 metres tall. They are typically parallel and straight but they can also be curved and vary in diameter. In Botswana they are found in Gerald Estates, Francistown.

The installation of the columnar joints as a landmark to the Tropic of Capricorn where this natural phenomenon occurs is to create a wonder about our country for enjoyment by locals and travellers alike.

The placement of the sculpture at Kasane International Airport is highly symbolic as it represents the international dimension of the illegal Ivory Trade especially after the launching of 2014 African Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI) in Kasane. The sculpture here is intended to raise our collective consciousness about the plight confronting the African elephant today. Much of the ivory that leaves the borders of African elephant range states finds its way out in the cargo holds of aircraft and the baggage of passengers. Customs officials and airline staff now find themselves on the frontline in the battle to combat ivory trafficking and need to be trained to be adequately trained to be our eyes and ears on the ground. The mounting of the elephant sculpture is also part of the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Public Art Programme of promoting the management and conservation of our heritage.

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