Geographical Notes


    WHEN Humboldt determined for the first time the average heights of continents, he could not, because of the want of data, determine that of Africa. Now Dr. Chavanne publishes, in the Proceedings of the Geographical Society of Vienna (vol. xxiv.), an elaborate paper on this subject, accompanied with a hypsometrical map of the African continent, which is based on no less than 8000 hypsometrical measurements. After a thorough discussion of the relative value of various measurements, Dr. Chavanne discusses the average heights of separate parts of Africa, and by how much each of them would raise the continent if its mass were distributed over the whole of the surface of Africa. He finds that the Atlas Mountains, if distributed over the surface of Africa, would produce an elevation of 26 metres; the Sahara, 122 metres; the plateaux of Soudan, 85 metres; those of Central and South Africa, 129 metres; and so on; and he accepts for the average height of the whole of the continent no less than 661.8 metres (with a probable error of ±21 metres), which figure he considers to be rather below the truth. This very high figure obviously is the result of the very great extension of high plateaux, which have do not find to such an extent even in Asia.

    Access options

    Rent or Buy article

    Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


    All prices are NET prices.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Cite this article

    Geographical Notes. Nature 24, 522–523 (1881).

    Download citation


    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.