Famous story: German geologists Henno Martin and Hermann Korn escaped the war by going into “The sheltering desert”. But who knows that they researched the Naukluft and that their findings caused a sensation? A memorial stone at BüllsPort now tells this story…

In 1935 Henno Martin and Hermann Korn to what was then South West Africa. Not only because this country is a paradise for geologists, with its openly visible and partly ancient rocks. But also to escape Nazi rule in the Third Reich. South West Africa has been under the mandate of South Africa since the end of the First World War.

Researching the Naukluft Mountains

Until the outbreak of World War II, Martin and Korn explored the Naukluft Mountains and made a geological map. The results of her scientific work were only published in the late 1950s – long after Hermann Korn’s death in Windhoek in 1946.

The essay “Gravity Tectonics in the Naukluft Mountains of South West Africa” of 1959 caused a stir among geologists worldwide. It showed that the huge mountain massif of the Naukluft originate from the Gamsberg and slid about 70 km to their current location.

Wandering mountain massif

This “slide”, powered by gravity, lasted millions of years and ended 495 million years ago. The event of such a large mountain massif moving such a distance in one piece is unique worldwide.

Martin and Korn also identified the rock that was liquefied by the pressure and thus served as a lubricant. The layer of “yellow” dolomite is also visible in several places on site at BüllsPort.

On the initiative of the Geological Society of Namibia, a block of this rock layer was now set up at BüllsPort and given a bronze plaque. It pays tribute to the merits of geologists Henno Martin and Hermann Korn for researching the Naukluft Mountains. And it tells the story of the wandering mountain massif.

Memorial Stone Henno Martin Hermann Korn BüllsPort Naukluft Mountains Geology Namibia

Memorial stone from the sliding rock of the Naukluft Mountains at BüllsPort, which commemorates the geologists Henno Martin and Hermann Korn. Photo: Sven-Eric Stender

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