Until recently, the Namib desert coast of South West Africa, aptly named the "Skeleton Coast", was one of the least known areas of Africa, avoided by mariners because of the many hazards to navigation, the lack of harbors and facilities, and the security regulations of diamond concession holders.
In 1963, extensive geological and geophysical exploration and prospecting for marine diamonds were started, and in the course of these investigations a number of interesting and challenging geologic problems were defined.
One of these problems concerns the origin of a series of raised shell patches, south of Walvis Bay, restricted almost exclusively to a 12 km long stretch of coast between Black Rocks and Caramba (Figure1):
The shells are distinctly visible as "conspicuous white patches" (British Admiralty Chart 3860) against the yellowish-white background of the quartz dunes which are more than 100m high in this area. The elevation of the shell patches ranges from about 15 to 60m above sea level and they extend as far as 600m inland.