If you like rocks and rock formations, Damaraland is a fascinating area of Namibia to visit. The high relief and minimal soil cover result in exposed rocks and a harsh but beautiful landscape.
Pictured here you can see the rust coloured dolerites which line a dry river bed.
The dolerite sill formed by magmatic events which affected large parts of Damaraland about 125 million years ago. Although dolerites occur in many parts of the country, this outcrop shows something special to the visitor. The molten magma penetrated into the surrounding rock parallel to the rock layers, thus the dolerite is solidified into a group of homogeneously orientated columns which results in polygonal cross-sections, the ‘organ pipes’.
The geometrical shape of the polygon (polygonal system)) is a widely distributed fundamental principle. Examples not only occur in a geological context, but are also known in biology (just think of honeycombs). In geology, all intrusive types of rock, like dolerite, tend to form polygonal sections. Basic laws of physics can explain this: any freely deformable body tends to form a sphere, because a sphere is the body with the largest volume and the smallest possible surrounding surface area. Bodies that cannot form freely, like confined basalt rock, form polygons. This is because hexagons or polygons are the geometrical shapes that are most similar to a sphere. Furthermore, polygon bodies, with their square forms can be connected together without any gaps in-between, a property, which a sphere obviously cannot fulfill. Therefore, polygons are the geometric forms in nature, which allow uninterrupted connection of different parts by creating the highest possible volume in the smallest surrounding surface area.
The doleritic magma, which solidified at the Valley of the Organ Pipes, cooled form the outside to the interior of the molten rock mass. The rock being confined could not move in any particular direction. By this cooling-off, the rock contracted. This resulted in thin cooling-off fissures, which were orientated in polygonal sections. Thus basalt columns were formed, which you can study on a walk through the small valley, and the ‘Valley of the Organ Pipes’ gives you a fascinating example of the strict laws of nature.
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corjan3 (2027) 2012-04-18 4:36
Been to Twyfelfontein but missed this outcrop, so it is very nice to see it here. The phenomenon of polygonal columnar jointing is well explained in your note.Excellent photo quality as usual. Best wishes.
baclama (17309) 2012-04-18 4:49
une contre plongée tres efficace avec des contrastes superbes!
une leçon de geologie au soleil;-)
Sergiom (54693) 2012-04-18 4:59
La construction de cette image est du plus bel effet et donne un résultat étonnant et bien réussi.Le point de vue donne de l'ampleur à la formation rocheuse qui semble vouloir grimper vers le ciel magnifique.
InasiaJones (31438) 2012-04-18 5:10
There is a similar phenomenon in Ireland that I have missed because it was raining cats and dogs for days, then I've missed this one in Namibia because there was too much things to see within three weeks.
At least I can see it through your photo that offers a wide view and good sense of the place. Colours are intensely saturated and contrasts are strong, so texture shows up.
Highly interesting note!
Suppiluliuma (3885) 2012-04-18 5:15
Wow, an overwhelming geological structure with a delightful informative note. The high saturation gives incredible liveliness to the picture.
I'm far from being an expert, but your note reminds me of the maths/derivative courses I had, where we tried to compute the area below a curve by creating a "n" number of rectangular shapes.
dta (63008) 2012-04-18 5:22
Hello Rosemary ,
I like rocky formations , so I like this picture . I've seen similar ones in the volacnic Canary Islands . The composition is simple , but effective . The contrasts are fine , even we are at the edge of the overexposure in the white clouds .
speedymanu (3523) 2012-04-18 5:27
an impressive geometric and abstract composition. Its minimalism is striking, the diverging lines (the clouds vs the rocks) adds dynamics while the saturated colors boosts its impact. Congratulations,
timecapturer (45309) 2012-04-18 5:59
this is so compelling and irresistable. Beautiful textures and colouring which look so amazing from this POV and against the stunning blue sky. Awesome image!
chrisvek (7001) 2012-04-18 6:07
Very nice shoot of these rocks with perfect background.I like the graduations of the colors and the ligthning.Also splendid POV and very nice note.TFS
Have a nice day,
BennyV (13546) 2012-04-18 7:09
Fine sharpness and textures under a superb sky. This looks like a fascinating area to visit indeed!
Vato_Law (12720) 2012-04-18 7:14
I was looking at your note and at the photo and indeed this reminds a pipe-organ, just that this one will give a different kind of spectacle, and what a spectacle this is, showing, once again, that nature is really something very close to perfection.
Your note is also something we read and enjoy with so many interesting things and explanations for those phenomens which do not occure by chance.
Finally I must say these tone contrats on the rocks and its contrats with sky are simply fantastic and a pleasure to watch carefully and spending some time because many nice things are to be found.
Waylim (25080) 2012-04-18 7:46
Certainly very unique and beautiful rockformation, they looke like collumns of square glue together into a castle of sort. The color is intense with earth tone and beutiful deep blue sky. Definitely worth seeing.
Robert1969 (6858) 2012-04-18 8:07
Because the point of view was/is very
close, makes the rocks extra bigger/
higher and tougher ( I like that).
The light management and composition
are also great.
JFS (32459) 2012-04-18 9:03
Amazing geometric geology well saturated, powerful shot full of textures. Your note is very interesting too. Thanks Rosemary!
jlbrthnn (79791) 2012-04-18 9:28
The basaltic organ pipes are often quite spectacular. The outlook on the rocks and the sky is clever. The light, colors and sharpness are excellent. Bravo.
have a nice day
PecoBud (3824) 2012-04-18 9:36
I love this photo Rosemary, with its great earth tone colors and bright blue sky, and all with superb clarity. The lines are so detailed and I was wondering if the river bed is lined with fallen stones from the wall? Light management is perfect and your POV is beautiful.
marina7 (8049) 2012-04-18 9:41
now this is really striking, I've never seen rocks like these. Amazing structure, just like a salt or some other kind of crystal. And its color is quite fascinating, you couldn't have found a better background for it than that perfect blue sky!
My best regards
abmdsudi (39716) 2012-04-18 10:18
I like everything about this shot, different and wonderful, a combination of shapes, textures and colors. Possibly the least photographed geological features so it's a real privilege to have been able to shoot this awe-inspiring geological feature comprising numerous dolerite columns, extremely an extraordinary geological site. This is truly a great, to have the good fortune to be able to take this picture and then the technical brilliance to take it as well as this. You must be very proud of your achievement and really done this justice. Brilliant! Congrats.
Appreciate your well written notes.
bayno (18342) 2012-04-18 11:01
maybe you do not know but I have a passion for minerals and is also my job, I know that Namibia is a open pit mine.
The picture is fantastic, the shape of the rocks is very particular, seem to be many crystals with a definite structure, with a little imagination might seem a big pipe organ, stunning contrast with the beautiful sky...
brianmcc (6005) 2012-04-18 11:46
the colours are incredible in this picture. very vivid and full of life. the pipes appear very similar to the giants causeway which has a structure not unlike this. although i doubt we'd gert such a lovely blue sky to provide the background.
Jeppo (17639) 2012-04-18 12:14
perhaps I'm wrong, but such a rock formation reminds me of solifide volcanic rock...something like the giant's causeway in Northern Ireland.
the main difference is the blue bright sky...so Namibian
tyro (18628) 2012-04-18 15:09
A fine note and a wonderful photograph!
I read your note with great interest and, even before I got to the last paragraph where you reveal that these columns are of basalt, I immediately had thought of the stretch of such basalt which runs from Northern Ireland, where it appears as the Giant's Causeway, to the Inner Hebrides where it exists on Staffa, particularly as Fingal's Cave - which so inspired Felix Mendelssohn to write his Hebridean Overture as well as his Scottish Symphony (3rd).
Your photograph is a wonderfully simple yet so effective composition, almost graphic. Simplicity of colours too and they are almost complementary - the blue of the sky and the orange/brown of the rock formation. Fine vertical perspective , perfect exposure and, as always, stunning sharpness.
bukitgolfb301 (34508) 2012-04-18 19:13
Hello my dear Rosemary
Hi, another fascionating nature shot!
I can perceive the mystery and power of the nature!
So sharp and clear focisuing as usual.
Very vivid color contrast is marvelous.
Thanks for your sharing with your best job and have a good day, best regards,
Takero from Tokyo
jimkil (1720) 2012-04-18 21:14
I love the rock formations and the details and yellow/red hues and colours, the sky looks too blue for me though and I like strong colours. ;-).
Love the upward POV and I'd say this is a beautiful piece of our world that I have never seen before.
jjcordier (73344) 2012-04-18 23:46
Superbe photo aux couleurs bien saturées de ces fantastiques formations volcaniques dont on apprécie les détails de la structure et des tons.
Nard (6970) 2012-04-19 0:14
Excellent low angle shot giving a beautiful and spectacular view of this natural sculture. That looks like numerous building. It is very impressive and the light enhances the relief. The mixt of the both colors is really magnificent.
golus (2893) 2012-04-19 3:55
Your title very wisely fits this incredibly beautiful scene. I very much liked your bottom up vantage point that surely maximizes the visula effect of linear patterns on the rocks and colors of the rock formation against the sky make an amazing contrast. This level of sharpness must be my reference when leveling it. :) Thanks again for your note. Best wishes,
danyy (0) 2012-04-19 6:52
le genre de paysage qui mérite la photo, et cette contre plongée, inondée de couleurs lui rend hommage. Des couleurs saturées mais pas trop, laissant le naturel dominer.
Royaldevon (26629) 2012-04-19 23:56
Good Morning Rosemary,
This is a remarkable place and beautifully captured from the upward pov, capturing the strong verticals of rich, warm colours. It certainly does remind one so much of the pipes of a church organ, and with strong similarities to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Island.
Have a lovely day,
Angshu (54763) 2012-04-20 0:02
The sight of these magmatic rocks creating crystalline columns due to sudden chilling is nothing short of fascinating. Not least because very less is seen in terms of pictures of this structure, but also the beautiful colours & contrast with the blue sky you have portrayed. The creation of these dolerite columns maybe similar to the basaltic structures so commonly seen in photographs from Ireland...I was a Geologist, a budding one, before I changed course, & hence I really appreciate this picture a lot!
dkmurphys (46408) 2012-04-20 0:27
Lovely textures of this amazing place. Great shapes and colors, nice idea.
Enjoy a fine day.
willperrett (5982) 2012-04-20 1:08
High drama here, both in terms of colour, viewpoint and subject matter. Actually the rock formation reminds me a bit of the Giants' Causeway in N. Ireland, but this is probably a tad warmer! Did you use a polarising filter on that sky?
patdeph (35748) 2012-04-20 11:22
thes rocks are really stunning,their graphism and their colors are very beautiful, and they are superbly standing out the blue sky.Excellent!
ybx (251) 2012-04-20 11:55
a very interesting scientific explanation about the origin of these spectacular rocks. This view is impressive, looking the picture is difficult to calculate height and size of these rocks.
You have taken a pleasant image, colours, contrast and sharpness are very good, also the sky and clouds contributes to make a strong shot.
Warm regards & ciao
annjackman (17851) 2012-04-20 12:02
I thought that this was the Giant's Causeway at first. Fabulous columns with a range of colours that give a 3-D appearance. The blue sky was a real bonus. Great geological note.
Kind Regards, Ann
Cricri (101513) 2012-04-20 12:23
Des rochers qui sort de l'ordinaire par leurs formes et leurs couleurs, fantastique réalisation, superbe lumière, couleurs et le bleu du ciel, magnifique
delpeoples (52533) 2012-04-23 20:05
Hello dear Rosemary
Don't you think these rock formations are similar to those on Kilt Rock, Isle of Sky and the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland? What amazing textures and sense of the three dimensional your photo brings forth. Excellent POv and wonderful contrasts between the earthy colours and that brilliant blue sky. We you using a CPL by any chanc?
Thanks for sharing, have a beautiful day
Silvio1953 (116071) 2012-04-24 1:34
Ciao Rosemary, great view of fantastic rock formation, good contrast against blue sky, wonderful colors and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
CLODO (28962) 2012-04-24 2:11
Stunning colors for this natural rock formation (basaltic organs I suppose).
COSTANTINO (51421) 2012-04-27 22:47
extraodinary capture welldone and wellseen
excellent phenomenon quality
great work from you,greetings
have a nice week end
i9l2y1m8a8t3 (4768) 2012-05-06 4:34
Wow! these rock formations are truly fascinating. I really missed a lot from your gallery! Love those lines and the vibrant colors! Eye catching and very striking!
see you around!
jmdias (52728) 2012-05-14 16:18
someone told me there is a similar amount of these rocks near my home, but I never went there to know.very beautiful the lines and colors here and the contrast with the sky.,. excellent use of the light and contrast. TFS.
colinbrenchley (6431) 2013-10-19 2:48
Rosemary. The power of colour and composition. A very good "minimalist" picture.
- Copyright: Rosemary Walden (SnapRJW) (29302)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-04-08
- Categories: Nature
- Exposure: f/20.0, 1/200 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Namibian Landscapes 2 [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2012-04-18 4:23