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The author in front of the Natas - Verloren
Quartzberg, August 2005

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Giant quartz crystals up to 20 m (!) on Farm Natas - Verloren, Hakosberge, Namibia

Coordinates : 23°08 'S , 16°20 'E : Farm Natas / Verloren, Hakos Mountains, Central Namibia

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- Natas - Verloren Quartzberg Introduction -


Quartz is a mineral which often form crystals of large dimensions and 1 m sized crystals of quartz are not very rare indeed. But have you ever heard of 20 m - and may be even more - quartz crystals ? They exist, on a very remote farm in western Namibia, not too far from the prominent Gamsberg tafelberg.

The Verloren farm has an interesting history on its own. The name "Verloren" which means "lost" in dutch language, derives from the fact, that this farmland was good, but virtually inacessible. Lost farmland hanging half way up the Great Escarpment, 500 m above the neighbouring farm and 500 m below the namibian plateau. So this piece of farmland was given for free to the adjoining farmer with the condition to build an access road as soon as possible. The farmer truly fulfilled his obligation and constructed a remarkably steep and narrow road.

To reach the "crystal mountain" you have to use this rocky road and this is surely one of the most adventurous tracks you will ever experience. We tried it first in 1988 and simply did not succeed. The road was too steep for the petrol pump of our landrover and the engine ran out of fuel every time half up the slope. Frustrating ! Finally we gave up and returned to Windhoek. Since that time I ever dreamed of returning to the crystal mountain...

In 1998 we tried it again, equipped with a new 4 x 4 Toyota, which served us well during our three weeks of holiday in Namibia. We arrived at the steep slope and this time we made it...but again this infamous track took its toll. While driving upwards, the back doors of our vehicle suddently failed and our complete luggage scattered around on the adjoining slopes !

Finally we reached the rolling hills of the Verloren farm plateau and after an hour hiking we gladly reached the crystal mountain. There it was, a giant mass of almost pure white glassy quartz glistening in the sun. And there were the crystals too : 10, 15, 20 meters... maybe even more. No, they do not (or only rarely)form free standing idiomorphic crystals, but you can easily identify the pyramidal crystal shapes in the rock faces and from time to time - looking from the right spots and the right angles - you can easily recognize large crystal faces too.

And then there were this caves. Unique caves indeed ! I had heard about them before : giant rhomboedral dolomite crystals up to 2 m form carbonate inclusions in the quartz crystals, These dolomite crystals, which you can find at many places, are subject to classic carstification, i.e. they are leached away over the times by water and all what remains are empty voids in the rhomboedral forms of the former crystals. Even this caves are quite long and a namibian caver told me later that they reach a length of more than 100 m. Pitty for us, that we didnt bring the right equipment to go caving...

But imagine : A substantial cave developed by leaching of giant dolomite crystals, which are mere inclusions in even larger quartz crystals !

We left the place deeply satisfied to have the privilege to see some of the largest crystals on earth. And if I ever get the chance I will come back, this time with caving gear...


The Natas - Verloren megaquartz in a nutshell :

Mineralogy :

Quartz, dolomite, talc

Crystal Size :

Quartz crystals up to 20 m ( 50 m ?) and dolomite crystals up to about 2 m

Geology & Origin :

Hydrothermal crystallisation of quartz / dolomite in fault zone in surrounding mica schist with intense carstification of the dolomite.

Current status :    

Plans are underway to open up the locality for tourists.

Remarks :

This site and smaller similiar sites in the vicinity urgently needs further research and protection !



Resources and relevant weblinks :

For more information on the mineral quartz please look at, Webmineral and the german Mineralienatlas.

For more information on the mineral dolomite please look at, Webmineral and the german Mineralienatlas.

Scientific research on this probably unique occurence, which definitely needs protection, was carried out by geologists of Göttingen university in the course of the SFB 48  'Continental Earth Crust' in the 1980ties.

For further information please have a look at

MARTIN. H. & EDER, F.W. (1983) (eds.) Intracontinental Foldbelts, Springer Verlag

and here :

BEHR, H.J., HORN, E.E., PORADA, H. : Fluid inclusions and genetic aspects of the Damara orogen, pp. 611 - 654

and most recently :

BEZING, L. v. (2007) : Namibia - Mineralien und Fundstellen, Bode Verlag, Haltern 2007

For a detailed description of the cave system, please read

MARAIS,E., MARTINI, J. & IRISH, J. (1995) : Gauab AS (Nambie Occidentale) : Une grotte dans de la dolomie megacristalline hydrothermale, in : Karstologia, No. 25, 2/1995, pp. 51 - 54, which you can access here thanks E. Marais, who sended us his publication.



About 5 - 10 m large quartz prism in the Natas - Verloren Quartzberg

Photo : A. Schmidt-Mumm, Adelaide


Center of the Quartzberg with dolomite - talc core

Photo : A. Schmidt-Mumm, Adelaide


Several meter large, well developed quartz crystals on Farm Verloren

Source : BEHR, H.J., HORN, E.E., PORADA, H. : Fluid inclusions and genetic aspects of the Damara orogen, pp. 611 - 654

12 m long weathered quartz crystal, showing excellent parting between growth sections

Photo : M. Bosshard, taken from Rykart "Quarz - Monographie", p.323




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