Das Meerfelder Maar liegt in der Eifel und ist mit 1,7 km Durchmesser der größte Maarkessel der Vulkaneifel., © Eifel Tourismus GmbH  - Dominik Ketz

Volcanicity in the Eifel

If you mention the word “Eifel”, volcanoes usually come to mind.

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If you mention the word “Eifel”, volcanoes usually come to mind.


To discover the relics of a turbulent period in the Earth’s history, it’s worth paying a visit to the Volcanic Eifel. The Schalkenmehrener maar is a blue, round lake. Even if it doesn’t look like it at first sight, “A maar is a volcano, but simply in a different form”, according to a nature and geopark guide. “A maar is created when magma flows from the Earth’s interior towards the Earth’s surface, and on its journey meets aquiferous layers. There, the water evaporates in an explosive way and rips the surrounding rock out with it.” This created a hole in the Earth’s crust. The hollow space caves in - and fills with water.  


The last volcanic eruption


“About 700,000 years ago, the more recent phase of volcanic activity began”, explains the geopark guide on the edge of the maar. “The last volcano, the Ulmener maar, erupted about 10,000 years ago.” The relics of this turbulent geological period can often easily be seen today: They include volcanic cones, coloured stones in ochre, brick red and carmine, and lava bombs. And, of course, the maars.


A geyser!


It travels from the Schalkenmehrener maar a few kilometres westwards to Wallenborn. Next to the site is a calm water source which is deceptively tranquil - until the surface bulges, the water appears to boil up, and suddenly, the “Wallender Born”, or “boiling spring” shoots three or four meters into the air. The Wallender Born is a cold water geyser, which  indicates that the earth under the Eifel has not entirely quietened down yet.


Refreshing: Eifel mineral water


There are many mineral water sources in the Eifel. Towards the north through the Volcanic Eifel, it’s worth paying a visit to Gerolstein at the Helenenquelle spring. The water tastes pleasantly acidic, is wonderfully bubbly - and is an excellent source of refreshment after a hike.


Certified: The UNESCO Global Geopark


UNESCO has classified the Volcanic Eifel nature and geopark as a “UNESCO Global Geopark”. In so doing, it honours the geological, natural and cultural heritage of this region.