• A cape is a high point of land that extends into a river, lake, or ocean. Some capes, such as the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, are parts of large landmasses. Others, such as Cape Hatteras in the U.S. state of North Carolina, are parts of islands. 
    Peninsulas are similar to capes. Most geographers consider capes to be smaller than peninsulas. Capes are narrow features that jut into a body of water. Peninsulas can be large, and many are barely connected to the mainland at all.
    Capes can be formed through many different processes, including the movement of ocean currents, rivers, erosion, and glaciers.
    The Mexican resort of Cabo San Lucas was formed by the collision of ocean currents. Coastal currents going in opposite directions meet in the shallow waters off the coast of the peninsula of Baja California. The movement of these currents push sand up into pointed shapes. 
    Cape Giradeau (ZHEER-uh-doh) in the U.S. state of Missouri, was formed as the Mississippi River deposited gravel and other sediments in shallow water. Although Cape Giradeau is a town, the actual geographic cape no longer exists. More than a century of intense river management and development drowned most of the cape.
    The Cape of Good Hope, on South Africa's Atlantic coast, was created as powerful waves slowly eroded coastal rock. The Cape of Good Hope is part of the Table Mountain range. The Table Mountains are mostly made of sandstone, a soft rock. The ocean eroded the Table Mountain sandstone on the coast, leaving only the hard, rocky cape.
    Cape Cod in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, was formed by glaciers. During the last ice age, a glacier carved its way through the North American landscape. Earthen material called moraine piled up in front of and on either side of the glacier. As the glacier melted and retreated, the piles of land emerged as a fishhook-shaped cape.
    Cape Point, South Africa, is part of the Table Mountain range.

    Cape of Good Hope
    The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa is often thought to be the southern tip of Africa, but it's not. The southern tip is actually Cape Agulhas, 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of Good Hope.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    cape Noun

    point of land that extends into a body of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: cape
    carve Verb

    to cut or slice through.

    coastal current Noun

    flow of ocean water parallel to a coast.

    collision Noun


    development Noun

    construction or preparation of land for housing, industry, or agriculture.

    erode Verb

    to wear away.

    geographer Noun

    person who studies places and the relationships between people and their environments.

    glacier Noun

    mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

    Encyclopedic Entry: glacier
    gravel Noun

    small stones or pebbles.

    ice age Noun

    long period of cold climate where glaciers cover large parts of the Earth. The last ice age peaked about 20,000 years ago. Also called glacial age.

    island Noun

    body of land surrounded by water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: island
    landmass Noun

    large area of land.

    landscape Noun

    the geographic features of a region.

    Encyclopedic Entry: landscape
    moraine Noun

    material, such as earth, sand, and gravel, transported by a glacier.

    Encyclopedic Entry: moraine
    peninsula Noun

    piece of land jutting into a body of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: peninsula
    resort Noun

    facility or space people go to relax in a luxury setting.

    river Noun

    large stream of flowing fresh water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: river
    river management Noun

    the art and science of controlling the flow, path, and power of rivers.

    sandstone Noun

    common sedimentary rock formed by grains of sand compacted or cemented with material such as clay.

    sediment Noun

    solid material transported and deposited by water, ice, and wind.

    Encyclopedic Entry: sediment
    wave Noun

    moving swell on the surface of water.