Erich Krenkel, German geologist, studied law at the University of Leipzig, which awarded him the degree Doctor of Law (D jur) in 1905. He continued his studies in geology and palaeontology at the University of Muenchen, which conferred on him the degree Doctor of Philosophy (Dr phil) in 1909 for his thesis Die untere Kreide von Deutsch-Ostafrika (The lower Cretaceous of German East Africa, now Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi). He qualified as a university lecturer in geology and palaeontology at the University of Leipzig in 1912 and from that year was a private tutor there in both these subjects. From 1914 to 1917, during World War I (1914-1918), he was on military service in East Africa. The next year he was appointed as professor extraordinarius at the University of Leipzig, initially in geology and palaeontology, but from 1926 until his retirement in 1945 in applied geology.
Krenkel's contributions to science dealt mainly with the geology and fossils of Africa. His research culminated in a monumental work titled Geologie Afrikas (3 vols, 1925-1938). His many papers, written in German and published in Europe, also dealt mainly with Africa, particularly East Africa, but included several on southern Africa. For example: "Die Aptfossilien der Delagoa Bai" (1910), "Die geologischen Grundlagen des Bergbaues der S.A. Union" (1927), "Die Kohlenfelder Transvaals" (1927), "Die Eisenerze Suedafrikas" (1929), "Die Stukturelemente Suedafrikas" (1930), "Die Kalahari Region Suedafrikas" (1931), and "Geologische Geschichte Suedafrikas" (1932). His book, Geologie der deutschen Kolonien in Afrika (1939) included an excellent overview of the geology of South West Africa (now Namibia).