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BURNT MOUNTAIN, TWYFELFONTEIN, NAMIBIA .Fossilized Organic Material Baked By Up-thrusting Magma formed this geological phenomena.


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Burnt Mountain Namibia. Fossilized Organic Material Baked By Up-thrusting Magma



Burnt Mountain Namibia early morning view

Morning view

Burnt Mountain Namibia afternoon view

Afternoon view


The Burnt Mountain on Farm Verbrandeberg. Not to be confused with the Brandberg Mountain that lays some 50km south. It looks like an industrial slag heap, and if you have seen the waste piles from any first world metal foundry then this site will give you food for thought. The rocks that you see exposed, did in fact burn, but what caused this 'colored 'ash heap' to be placed so far away from 'big industry' ?


Burnt Mountain How The Rocks Were Baked.

A long, long time ago when Namibia formed part of the ancient and giant continent of Gondwana  this particular area of Namibia was part of an inland lake rich in marine life and vegetation. The dead organisms (plant and creatures) that drifted to the bottom of the lake mixed-in with the silt. The countless years of wind blown sands and dusts that settled in the lake grew into thick sedimentary beds that covered the layers of decomposed organic material. Namibia then experienced a long dry period. Many of the great inland lakes dried-out and over the millions of years the winds blew in more sands that covered the lake and its sedimentary layers to considerable depths. The great weight of the overburden caused the sedimentary beds containing the organic material to solidify into shale. Time marched on and about 125 million years ago Gondwana was experiencing the separation of was was to become the African and South American continents. Many areas of Namibia and particularly Damaraland experienced what is known as Karoo Volcanism. Basaltic rock magma at temperatures in excess of 1000 Celsius pushed up towards the earth's surface. It was at the site of the 'Ancient Lake' where one particular up-thrust of the molten magma came into contact with the 'organic material

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Kunene Region

2035'S - 1422'E

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bearing shale' sandwiched between the layers of sedimentary rock. The extreme heat ignited the organic material which vaporized. The residual shale was literally baked resulting in a blackish colored compacted rock. The shale contained particles of iron and manganese that where later exposed to the atmosphere by ongoing erosion, oxidized giving the purple shiny effect. The westward cliff-face is made up of clear bands of sedimentary rocks that show a variety of reds, browns and creams during the early morning and late afternoon sunlight.


The sedimentary rock formations at the Burnt Mountain are from the oldest:

Tsarabis sandstone, Huab mudstone, Gai-As lacustrine red  mudstone, Etjo acolian sandstone.


Photographing the Burnt Mountain:

Early in the morning, the low sun does allow for some colorful photographs. Afternoon is also good, but don't leave it too late as the western cliffs, being much higher, cast shadows over the Burnt Mountain


The site is operated under the supervision of the National Heritage Council of Namibia and trained local guides will take you around the site also showing you the points of interest.   Entry Fees Payable


Acknowledgements and further reading:  G1, G2, H12, P1


Khorixas / Twyfelfontein Area Attractions

Burnt Mountain

Petrified Forest

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