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messum crater - Namibia

Posted by Herman Du Plessis  
Herman Du Plessis February 15, 2012 08:44PM
Hi there,

I was looking over some possible new collecting localities in namibia, and came across this

I searched on the net but couldn't find more info on this, I know where messum crater is located and
Ive froved past it a few times on mt way to Goboboseb, my question is as follows:
does anyone here know where is the best area to collect minerals there? i.e maybe point me in the right direction on Google earth?

Any help will be appreciated, i will be going to Namibia on the 21st of March for 2 weeks.

thanks Herman
Rolf Brandt February 15, 2012 10:27PM
Hi Herman, the best person to ask is Gawie Cloete in Omaruru (if he is still around).
Herman Du Plessis February 16, 2012 05:09AM
Hi Rolf

Do you maybe have an email for him or a mindat home page so I can contact him? If he has any one of these?

Craig Mercer February 16, 2012 05:37AM
Herman, Debbie Woolfe is another with great knowledge of the area.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2012 05:37AM by Craig Mercer.
Rolf Brandt February 16, 2012 08:39AM
Hi Herman, ask Chris Johnston, they are/were neighbours in Omaruru.
Gawie had plenty specimens from the Messum Crater and was one of the first to go and explore there. He knows it very well. Rolf
Herman Du Plessis February 16, 2012 08:46AM
Hi Rolf

Thanks for the info I will get to Chris asap thanks again.

Malcolm Southwood February 16, 2012 02:23PM
Some of the Messum specimens in my collection we're collected by Peter Seroka (Germany), who participated in the original thread. You could try him with a PM perhaps?
Goog luck.
Herman Du Plessis February 17, 2012 02:43PM
Hi Malcolm, thanks I did send him a pm.
thanks for the info.
I seem not to find the picture on your mindat homepage of the specimens from there?

Peter Seroka February 17, 2012 07:34PM
Hi Herman

this must have been the eleventh individual inquiry within 4 years - how to get into the Messum crater. I had replied eleven times and given eleven detailed explanations and advice. I have never ever received any feedback, nor response, nor do I know, whether anyone, after knowing about the Messum crater characteristics, ever went there, or has been successful or had been killed by a snake bite.
So - instead of repeating and explaining the whole story many more times, I think it will be the best to disclose all necessary information in this mindat forum.

*The Messum geology has been explained on numerous websites. Just browse !

*The Messum crater is a worldwide unique place to collect feldspars and quartzes. The feldspars are pinkish to beige colored microcline crystals up to 25 cm, most are very sharp floaters. The quartzes appear as water clear, very odd crystals, sometimes flat as a sheet of paper, some sharp as a razor blade, some like dripping candles. Sizes vary from 5 to 25 cm. In some parts in the rocks you can find fantastic well developped amethyst scepters up to several cm length.

*In a number of places the feldspars can be found as loose crystals in the fine gravel and sand of the crater walls talusses. In some places I have collected over hundred specimen in less than one hour. (of those, i took a few for my collection; the main part remained there; uncountable specimen may still be very near the camp ground, where I stored my finds, if nobody has taken them back home). To find good quartz xtls and amthysts, you may have to dig up to 1 m down into narrow sand filled clefts in the rocks. (an army type shovel is best for digging).

*To go there, you start at Uis, pass the Brandberg West mine, then the Tsibeb conservancy, follow the sand pad 4 miles West til you reach the dry Messum river canyon. (a). In the canyon, you need to drive about 15-17 miles NW til you reach the entrance to the crater (b). Not far from the crater entrance, on your left side, you will approach a suite of rocks, wich are part of the crater wall; here you may find the best camp ground (c). The beste collecting places are (d) and (e).

*a. Here you need to drive into the Messum river canyon -21.260112,14.450741
*b. Messum crater entrance -21.357517,14.231987
*c. Best camp ground -21.401817,14.20548
*d. Good and plenty feldspar xtls -21.438492,14.271312
*e. Here Amethyst and quartz xtls -21.361823,14.200115

So far, so good. Since I had been there (an expedition guided by Gawie Cloete), there might have been many more discoveries. However, as ist is usual and common with rockhounding, its up to you to discover new localities within this huge area. (the crater measures almost 11 miles/diameter, the crater walls are all composed of mineral bearing rocks.)

However, the best advice is: Depending on the length of the expedition (I assume, that 3-4 days is a must, to be successful),

-you need to carry as much water as possible. There is no drop in sight and the sun and the winds are takíng the humidity out of you
-beware of the many many poisonous snakes and the scorpions. Best collecting time is in the morning from 7-10, when the fogs are still over the ground and when the snakes are still "asleep". But once, when it gets warm and when you start hammering, those snakes atch you and move faster than you can think. You got to wear boots and gloves and got to make sure, that you pre-ispect the gaps you want to work on before hammering.
-Don`t go there on your own. You should go to the crater with at least 2 4-wheel-drive vehicles. There is a lot of sand and I bet you, one or the other vehicle will drown in a dune or in a sand pothole. The tracks in the plain before getting to the canyon are treacherous. The canyon track consists of pebbles and sharp rocks.

Wish you all the best in one of the world's best collecting places
Peter Seroka
Herman Du Plessis February 18, 2012 05:07AM
Morning Peter.

Well all I can say is that piece you wrote is excellent.
thanks for all the advice and tips, I will surely follow them, I already took all the coordinates to Google earth.
the only thing I think is wrong in your piece is,

"To go there, you start at Uis, pass the Brandberg West mine, then the Tsibeb conservancy,"

one do not pass this mine as it lays on the very end of the gravel road north, pass goboboseb near ugap rhino camp.
but still thanks again for all the info and i will post pictures and give you a report when im back.

thanks Herman.
Anonymous User February 23, 2012 05:30PM
Peter, excellent information. I am glad you took the time to write it and post it for others to read and use. Thanks!!!!
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