The ridges in front of it rose steeply, and were strongly held by the Italians, whose position, however, suffered from two grave drawbacks.
Geologically and structurally Cyrenaica is a mass of Miocene limestone tilted up steeply from the Mediterranean and falling inland by a gentle descent to sea-level again at the line of depression, which runs from the gulf of Sidra through Aujila to Siwa.
The road rose so steeply here that in 1812 an effort was made to lessen the slope for coaches by means of an archway, and a new way was completed in 1900.
In width rising steeply from the foothills of the Tehama to an average height of 9000 ft.; many summits exceed 10,000 ft.
Thus the high plateaus include: - (a) The South African plateau as far as about 12° S., bounded east, west and south by bands of high ground which fall steeply to the coasts.