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North of the small town of Mendig in the east of the east, in the immediate vicinity of the A61 motorway, the gray-yellowish Wingertsbergwand rises up to 50 meters in height and has become a “Mecca” for volcanologists and geotourists in recent years. This was only possible because the legislature forbade a quarry company from further searching for the coveted Mendig basalt in this area and placed the excavation edge under monument protection. The Wingertsbergwand is practically a diary of the last eruption of the Laacher See volcano complex. The best way to find out what the huge outcrop on the Wingertsbergwand can tell is on site.
Like in a picture book, the different layers of ash show the exact history of those dramatic 10 days around 12,000 years ago. Using the vegetation finds under the tuff and pumice deposits, scientists were able to reconstruct what the Eastern Eifel looked like before the catastrophe. At that time, oaks, lime trees, pines, willows and hazelnut bushes grew in the Eastern Eifel. The climate was humid and cool, similar to that in central Sweden today. It obviously only took a few seconds, in which the originally idyllic landscape was destroyed by a devastating pressure wave.

Strangely enough, the archaeologists have only found abandoned camps of the Ice Age hunters who lived in the East Eifel at that time. There are no bone finds from buried people. It can be assumed that the people living in the Eastern Eifel had enough time to escape the later inferno due to natural changes in their living environment.

Again and again the unleashed volcano spat out new material. You can recognize the individual phases precisely by the density and color of the material in the open flank of the Wingertsberg. In the last phase of the eruption, minerals, including the world-famous Hauyn, were brought to light from the lower part of the magma chamber. After the earth had calmed down again, grass (and wine> Wingertsberg) in the truest sense of the word grew over history for almost 12,000 years, just as long until the excavators came ...

The way to the Wingertsbergwand is signposted from Mendig.
It leads over a small bridge over the A 61 motorway and continues on an undulating road to the western entrance of the Michels quarry. Keep to the left (west) of the mining site and then follow the signs to the right to a car park near the Wingertsbergwand.
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Hinter A 61
56743 Mendig

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Laacher See in der Eifel, © Eifel Tourismus GmbH, D. Ketz

Laacher See

With around 3.3 km² and a depth of 53 m, Laacher See is the largest lake in Rhineland-Palatinate. The area around the lake has been a nature reserve for almost 80 years. The last eruption of the former “Laacher volcano” occurred around 10,930 BC. B.C., about 13,000 years ago. Traces of volcanic activity can still be found in the form of volcanic outgassing, the so-called mofettes, on the eastern shore of the lake. The total ejection quantity of the outbreak at that time was about 16 km³. The eruption was one and a half times as strong as that of Pinatubo in 1991, or 6 times as strong as the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Although Laacher See is widely regarded as the largest maar in the Vulkaneifel, it is scientifically not a maar and also not a real crater lake, but a water-filled caldera - a burglary crater that resulted from a collapse after the magma chamber was emptied below the volcanic cone. The volcanic mountain collapses and only the ring bead on the outer edge remains. Over time, the remaining boiler fills up with water. The Laacher See is in the Eifel, next to the neighboring Wehrer Kessel, the largest caldera and the only water-filled one in Central Europe.