The Hohburg Hills belong to the Northwest Saxon volcanic complex. The porphyry was formed by violent volcanic eruptions during the Permian about 290 million years ago. Between 100 and 20 million years ago, during the warm, humid climate of the Upper Cretaceous and the Tertiary, intense weathering of the porphyry produced kaolin („china clay“). Today, the resistant rock form the hilltops of the hilly landscape around Hohburg. During the Elster and Saale ice ages – from about 400,000 years ago – huge inland ice glaciers advancing from Scandinavia abraded the mountains giving them their typical whaleback-like shape (drumlins). The porphyry peaks were left with elongated scratches and mirror-like surfaces. The geologist Carl Friedrich Naumann found these in the Hohburg Mountains as early as 1844 and interpreted them as glacial striations. This was long before the inland ice theory was generally accepted in the second half of the 19th century. He remarked: „Should the Nordic glaciers really have reached from the Scandinavian Mountains to the Wurzen Hills? I shiver at the thought.“ (B. v. Cotta, geologist, 1844).
Traces of the most recent cold period in Central Europe, the Weichselian period between 115,000 and 12,000 years ago, can also be found in the Hohburg Hills. Although the inland glaciers only reached as far as the present-day Berlin area, strong winds transported clay and sand particles from the low-vegetation cold desert (tundra) in the foreland of the glaciers onto the porphyry rocks with the effect of a natural sandblaster. Steady winds worked distinct groove structures into the Naumann-Heim rocks over thousands of years.