Neueste Geotope

The “Schneckenstein”

The Schneckenstein is a well-known topaz rich outcrop located in the identically named district of the town of Muldenhammer in Saxony. The outcrop rises 23 metres above the ground in a mostly flat surrounding. With a height of 883 metres above mean sea level, the Schneckenstein is one of the highest points in the Upper Vogtland area. For protection purposes, the rock itself and its surroundings are fenced and can be visited during opening hours. On the 5th November 1938, the Schneckenstein was named a natural monument and added to the Saxon geosite list as number 259. The Schneckenstein is part of a joint geological research project of Topaswelt Schneckenstein, TU Bergakademie Freiberg and the Vogtland Geoumweltpark. … Continue readingThe “Schneckenstein”

The “Familienschacht”

Beneath the town of Freiberg in Saxony exists a large underground mining system dating back to the 18th century. During construction work at the Untermarkt in 2018, the so-called family mineshaft (German: “Familienschacht”), which was used to mine silver, was rediscovered. Due to the visit of Alexander von Humboldt, the Familienschacht is also known as the Humboldt Shaft. For safety reasons, the mining system is not accessible to the public. However, a 3D model was created to enable visitors to experience it. … Continue readingThe “Familienschacht”

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 Piesberg

As a result of intensive mining since the Middle Ages, the Piesberg in the highland of Osnabrück between the Wiehen hills in the north and the Teutoburg forest in the south has been hollowed out like a hollow molar. It is internationally famous for its plant and insect fossils in approx. 310-305 million year old sediments and is one of the largest quarries in Europe due to the constant quarrying of quartzite sandstones. As a national geotope, the Piesberg is of paramount importance, and city and Osnabrück district and the UNESCO Geopark TERRA.vita preserve its geological heritage. … Continue readingThe Piesberg

The Ofenkaulen

The mountain Ofenkaulberg in North Rhine-Westphalia is made up of trachyte tuff. The rock formed as a result of volcanic eruptions that took place approximately 25 million years ago. These eruptions were the beginning of long lasting volcanic activities in the Siebengebirge. Tectonic activity in the Lower Rhine embayment is associated with the volcanic activity. … Continue readingThe Ofenkaulen

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 Lieth open pit

The Lieth open pit in Schleswig-Holstein offers the opportunity to examine the interior of a salt dome. The dome consists of salt-bearing sedimentary rocks of the two Permian subunits, the Rotliegend and the Zechstein. The rocks ascended from a depth of at least six kilometres to the Earth’s surface. However, salty-tasting rocks are not encountered in the open pit, as the salt was dissolved by groundwater and transported away in solution. This process left behind an unconsolidated residue, the so-called “Liether limestone ash”, which, because of its use as fertiliser, was mined and thus generated the open pit. … Continue readingThe Lieth open pit

The Saarschleife near Mettlach (Saarland)

The Saarschleife near Mettlach represents a large river bend. The beautiful landscape can be best seen from the viewpoint “Cloef”. The river Saar formed about 23 million years ago when the meandering river bed started to cut into the bedrock until it reached the older and harder rocks after a few million years of erosion. Accompanied by regional uplift, the Saar cut further into the basement and harder rocks. Fault systems in the underground played an important role in influencing the flow direction of the Saar and the Saarschleife. In summary, the Saarschleife formed by an interaction of surface and subsurface processes. … Continue readingThe Saarschleife near Mettlach (Saarland)

Rügen Island, chalk coast (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)

The famous white chalk coast on the Island of Rügen consists of limestone marls from the Cretaceous period. They were formed around 70 million years ago in a cool shallow sea and consist for the most part of microscopic calcite platelets that surrounded unicellular algae (coccoliths). During the last glaciation period, the Cretaceous limestones and the glacial sediments deposited on top of them were pushed and compressed by the moving glaciers and stacked into a sequence of imbrication thrusts. … Continue readingRügen Island, chalk coast (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania)

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