June 22, 2015

Monday Geology Picture(s): Bogenfels Rock Arch, Sperrgebiet, Namibia

Posted by Evelyn Mervine



My apologies that I’ve been very quiet here on Georneys recently. My travel and work schedule were extremely hectic during the past month… plus I was working on a couple of scientific papers related to my PhD thesis research. However, life is a bit calmer now, so hopefully I’ll catch up on some blogging soon! I want to share some more pictures from my trip to Australia, amongst other things.

I’ll start with a few pictures from my recent trip to Namibia. Recently, I had the good fortune to spend a couple of weeks in the Sperrgebiet in Namibia doing some fieldwork on behalf of De Beers. I do not blog about my industry work here on Georneys (unless the work is published and thus in the open domain), so I can’t share the details of my trip. However, I can share a few pictures of some of the “tourist attractions” that I saw during my field work.

Sperrgebiet means “Prohibited Area” in German (the Germans colonized Namibia, so some German words and town names are still found in the country). The Sperrgebiet is an area in southern Namibia (stretching between Lüderitz and Oranjemund) where very rich placer diamond deposits are found. Since the early 1900s, access to this area has been highly restricted. Even for De Beers employees, special police clearances and permits are required to enter the area, and security remains strict. However, for those who do have access, the Sperrgebiet is a fascinating and magical place. Aside from the fantastic hard rock and sedimentary geology (and wildlife!) that one can see, the area contains a number of historical and archaeological sites. There are a number of abandoned diamond mining “Ghost Towns” that are weathering away in the desert, pretty much undisturbed (by humans, anyway) since they were abandoned tens of years to more than a hundred years ago. For the general public, it is extremely difficult to enter the Sperrgebiet. However, there is one tour company that operates a day trip (from Lüderitz) to Pamona, one of the abandoned diamond mining towns, and the Bogenfels Rock Arch, which is the subject of today’s post. If you ever find yourself in southern Namibia, I highly recommend the tour although you must remember to submit paperwork for the tour well in advance. Even tourists require a permit to enter the Sperrgebiet!

Without further ado, I present a few more pictures of the impressive Bogenfels Rock Arch below. From what I understand “Bogenfels” actually means “Rock Arch” in German. Certainly, the arch is an impressive feature located right on the coastline.

Bogenfels Rock Arch #2 - from a distance.

Bogenfels Rock Arch #2 – from a distance.

Bogenfels Rock Arch #3.

Bogenfels Rock Arch #3.

Bogenfels Rock Arch #4.

Bogenfels Rock Arch #4.


That’s all for now… stay tuned for a few more pictures from Namibia!