Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/322

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surface, or filling up the large gaps and fissures occasioned by ancient eruptions. Iron and sandstone, and slate formations, are also not uncommon.

At some remote period this land must have been subjected to volcanic agencies; and though not one of these has taken place in the memory of the present generation, rumbling noises underground and tremors of the earth are of frequent occurrence. The existence of hot water springs; the confusion of the fantastically and curiously-shaped hills—"the strata bending and dipping from the perpendicular to the horizontal, and in others extending in a straight line from one hill to another"—bear ample testimony to its volcanic nature. The presence, moreover, of vast quantities of minerals is a further evidence of its igneous character. Tin, lead, iron, and copper ore is often met with. I have had specimens of the latter mineral in my possession containing from forty to ninety per cent, of pure metal. At eight to ten days' journey with "ox wagon," east of the missionary station, Bethany, meteoric iron is found in apparently inexhaustible quantities. I have seen lumps, of several hundred weights, brought from thence, so pure and malleable that the natives converted it into balls for their guns, &c., without any previous application of fire. As Great Namaqua-land becomes better known, it is more than probable that it will be found equally prolific in minerals—if not more so—as Little Namaqua-land, where, of late, extensive and valuable mines have been brought to light.

The term Hottentot and Namaqua have probably originated with Europeans, since neither is found in the native language. The Hottentots of these regions may be divided into two great branches, viz., the "Topnaars" and the "Oerlams." With the latter is generally understood the newcomers and the semi-civilized; but the real signification of the term is doubtful. Some conjecture the "Oerlam" to be a corruption of the Dutch word "o'erland," or overland—