VULKANEIFEL GEOPARK (Germany)
Located in the middle of Central Europe, at the northwestern part of the ‘Rheinish Slate Mountains’, the rolling Eifel highlands are a hilly landscape with deep, glacially carved valleys cut into old Devonian sediments (360-415 million years old). Volcanoes dot the landscape, with 350 known eruption centers, and give the area its name – Vulkaneifel.
Conservation, Education & Tourism
In some craters, bogs and lakes have formed while others remain dry. Known as ‘maar’ craters, these bodies reveal a nearly uninterrupted stack of sediments dating back to 150,000 years ago that provides data for the reconstruction of past climate, vegetation and ecology. Similarly, fossils found in 43 million years old sediments of Eckfeld Maar are of worldwide importance, since they contained an archetypal horse and the oldest known honey bee. The Vulkaneifel has attracted geo-scientists for 200 years and many international research projects have been conducted here. The Earth beneath the Vulkaneifel is still in motion. In fact, the surface of the area still uplifts by one millimeter per year rate.
For the past 30 years, efforts to foster economic development have focused on the area’s unique geological heritage. The Vulkaneifel is one of the founding members of the European Geoparks Network and the concept of "geo-tourism". Today there is well-developed geotourism at Vulkaneifel. Five museums and about 350 marked and described geological outcrops present the geology and guide visitors through the fascinating landscape. The aim is to bring visitors closer to the area’s remarkable geology and promote the conservation of geological heritage and sustainable economic development.
Other services include: individual trips, half daily routes, as well as excursions of one or more days. Arranged according to different geoscience topics, but also botanical or culture-historical ones, the hiking trails permit an incomparably intensive and active visit into the charm of the Vulkaneifel wonderland.
The Global Geoparks Network is supported by UNESCO at the request of Member States