St. Wendel region, Saarland: traces of old volcanic activity, impressions Aug 2020

The northeastern Germany's Saarland and adjacient parts of Rheinland-Pfalz are saw very intense volcanic activity in the Permian period, approx. 280 million years ago. Both large-scale magmatic intrusions as well as important volcanic activity on the surface of the back-then desert-like landscapes created important plutonic (intrusive) bodies (such as granites, diorites etc) as well as a vast plateau of lava flows and pyroclastic rocks that covered older sediments (mainly sand- and mudstones).
Today, this layer of magmatic rocks forms a beautiful plateau of small mountains and hills reaching approx. 4-600 m elevation and carved by carved by gentle valleys such as the Nahe valley. The exposed and eroded volcanic and plutonic rocks are rich in a variety of minerals, in particular quartz and agate. Exploration and treatment of these minerals gave rise to an important mineral-cutting industry that flourished for centuries especially in the area around Idar-Oberstein, which became (and in parts still is) a hot-spot for mineral treatment and trade.
During a visit in Aug 2020, Tobias and Tom explored some of the hidden volcanic treasures of the northern Saarland (St. Wendel region).
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