The mystery of Mūgorob
Issue 4 (May 2009) Two decades on, mystery still surrounds the overnight collapse of what was one of Namibia’s best-known landmarks – a twelve metre high sandstone pillar called Mûgorob.


The remains of the 450-tonne sandstone pillar at the Weißrand escarpment near Asab was discovered on the morning of 8 December 1988 by farmers. At the time it was thought that the rock, also known as God’s finger, had been toppled by heavy gusts of wind.

But geologists Roy Miller and Karl Heinz Hoffmann and geophysicist Louis Fernandez have since come to a different conclusion. They believe that the mudstone base of the pillar, much worn down already, was further weakened by the previous days’ rain. Finally it yielded to the constant pressure of the heavy pillar. It is possible that the shockwaves of the devastating earthquake which hit Armenia in the morning of 7 December 1988 also helped to tip the balance. The shockwaves were registered by the seismological station in Windhoek.

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