Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Messum Crator - life in the harshest of conditions


Messum in the photo is the formation toward the bottom left with Bradberg, the highest mountain in Namibia, some 30km away. During about 1850 a British merchant ship under Captain William Messum visited Cape Cross. Captain Messum was in search of commercial opportunities along the Namib coast and spent a few weeks exploring the hinterland, probably up to the Brandberg area. He humbly named the dry river course and the mountains after himself. 

During the years just before their epic escape into the Namib during WWII, the German geologists Dr Henno Martin and Dr Hermann Korn (“The Sheltering Desert” – “Wenn es Krieg gibt, gehn wir in die W├╝ste”) spent some time investigating the “Messum Igneous complex in SWA” situated to the south of the Messum river, west of the Brandberg massif. They first recognized the crater structure (1936/7) and coined the name ‘Messum Crater’. It was not actually named by Captain Messum. It is also very unlikely that Captain Messum himself was ever inside the crater. However it has since come to light that Messum is in fact not a crator, it is a colapesed volcano that had much to do with the seperation of Africa and South America from the former super continent.

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Photo by: Google Earth