The Scheibenberg near Annaberg

Near the city of Annaberg in the southwestern Ore Mountains in southeastern Germany there is the Scheibenberg with a large outcrop in an abandoned quarry, which cuts in half the summit area of the Scheibenberg and provides an excellent insight into the interior of the mountain. The famous organ pipes of the Scheibenberg are basalt columns of a basalt flow from the Oligocene. Since the 16th century, the hard basalts in the vicinity of the towns of Schlettau and Scheibenberg have been mined for building purposes, worked up as road paving or crushed into gravel. In the 19th century, clays found under the basalts were also mined. Until 1936, basalt columns were broken on the Scheibenberg, before it was put under protection in 1937. The aim was not to further destroy the basalt columns, but rather to preserve them for posterity as an object worthy of special protection. In 2006 the Scheibenberg was raised to the “National Geotope”, an award that was given to a total of 77 geotopes throughout Germany by the Academy of Geosciences in Hannover. In 2019, the geotope was also put under the protection of the UNESCO World Heritage montane region/Krušnohoří. … Continue readingThe Scheibenberg near Annaberg

The Bromacker

The Bromacker is a fossil site for early Permian vertebrates, which are preserved here three-dimensionally and often completely. The ecosystem with many herbivores and few predators (similar to today) and the possibility to find trace fossils and their producers next to each other makes this site unique compared to other fossil sites of similar age. This is why it is part of the UNESCO Global Geopark Thüringen Inselsberg-Drei Gleichen and also the subject of ongoing research, which can be visited on site or online. … Continue readingThe Bromacker

The Devil’s Wall at Königstein

In the northern Harz foreland between Ballenstedt in the east and Blankenburg in the west, steep, sometimes meter-high sandstone cliffs form an imposing natural phenomenon over a length of approx. 20 km, which is known as the Teufelsmauer. The rugged, erosion-resistant cliffs are formed by layers of silicified sandstone, the formation of which is associated with the uplift of the Harz Mountains and their overthrust to the northern foreland during the Upper Cretaceous. The Königstein, Mittelstein and Papenstein sections south and south-west of Weddersleben have been under nature protection since 1935. In 2006, the Teufelsmauer was awarded national geotope status and is now an important geopoint in the UNESCO Geopark Harz – Braunschweiger Land – Ostfalen. … Continue readingThe Devil’s Wall at Königstein

The “Lange Wand” (long wall)

The “Lange Wand” is like a window into Earth’s history: from the Ilfeld porphyry (280 million years) to the copper shale and the Zechstein limestone (250 million years). In the mine of the same name, copper shale has been mined since the 16th century. Here, in addition to cobalt ore and barite, you can also admire fish fossils, the so-called “copper shale herring”. … Continue readingThe “Lange Wand” (long wall)

The Heeseberg

About 25 km southwest of Braunschweig, the 200 m high Heeseberg rises above the northern Harz foreland. It lies in the southeastern extension of the Asse and belongs geologically to the Asse-Heeseberg structure, a narrow, elongated fold anticline that contains a salt dome in its center (Fig. 1). In the former Asse salt mine, the salts of the Zechstein were mined for many years. Today it is known nationwide for the storage of low-level radioactive waste that has taken place since the 1970s. … Continue readingThe Heeseberg

Dinosaur tracks in the Obernkirchen Sandstone (Lower Saxony)

Some of the layers of the Obernkirchen Sandstone show countless footprints of different dinosaurs. Some 140 Ma ago, carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs lived in this area. Parts of the track-bearing layers are openly accessible and offer a brief view into the era of these ancient beasts.
Dinosaurs are an extremely successful group of terrestrial vertebrates and almost everyone has heard about the countless spectacular dinosaur fossils from Asia and South America. Furthermore, there are lots of fossils of these creatures known from several locations across Europe. One of these locations is the Bückeberg near Obernkirchen in Lower Saxony, Germany. Here, the dinosaurs literally left their traces… … Continue readingDinosaur tracks in the Obernkirchen Sandstone (Lower Saxony)

The Externsteine

The Externsteine are a group of spectacular sandstone rocks located within the Teutoburg Forest. The rocks were formed from sediment that accumulated within a marine basin many millions of years ago, which after burial and lithification were tectonically uplifted and tilted. People have visited the rocks for many hundreds of years and they are regarded as a place of worship. Humans have now changed the appearance of the rocks by building bridges and stairs. There are also artificial caves and carvings. … Continue readingThe Externsteine

The Dohlenstein

The Dohlenstein is a huge landslide in the Saale valley, which is active since at least 1740. The largest landslides have even changed the course of the Saale river. Here, rocks of the Muschelkalk overlie Buntsandstein units (Triassic). The uppermost layers of the Buntsandstein consist of mudstones. There, water accumulates in the rock and a sliding surface is formed. On this sliding surface the overlying rocks move towards the valley and form a large debris cone. The landslide cliff can be seen from afar as a bright white, vertical rock face. … Continue readingThe Dohlenstein