Blick auf das Weinfelder Maar, © Eifel Tourismus GmbH

The Eifel maars

The water-filled maars are the symbol of the volcanic Eifel. But what is actually a maar?

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The term “maar” is taken from the Latin “mare” (sea) and is used to describe the funnel-shaped volcano type created from water vapour eruptions which have “exploded into” the landscape and which outwardly often takes on a key-like shape.
During the initial creation phase of a maar, rising magma meets aquiferous stone layers which leads to massive explosions. The surrounding stone, together with the magma, is shattered into tiny fragments and is hurled out of the explosion funnel.
In the area at the centre of the explosion, a hollow chamber is formed which overflows out of an explosion vent. Due to the fact that the stone formed over the hollow chamber breaks down, the explosion vent becomes a collapsed or maar funnel. After the volcanic activity has died down, the funnel fills with water.
Overall, over 70 maar volcanoes have been counted. Ten maars are still filled with water today, while the others have already silted over.

 

Blick vom Maarkreuz aufs Schalkenmehrener Maar, © Eifel Tourismus GmbH, D. Ketz

Schalkenmehrener Maar

Especially if you visit the GesundLand Vulkaneifel in summer, a detour to the Schalkenmehren Maar is a must. Located directly at the village of the same name and opposite the Weinfelder Maar, the Schalkenmehrener Maar is one of the three Dauner Maars and offers a wonderful backdrop for an extended walk or an extensive hike. If you look closely, you can see that the Schalkenmehren Maar was once a double maar, formed by volcanic activity around 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. But the tuffs of the western maar filled up the eastern maar funnel, so that nothing can be seen of the second maar today, except for the fen vegetation that has spread in this area. Take a little discovery tour and observe numerous animal and plant species along the way!