What if Berlin disappeared in a major eruption? Scientists discover large volcano under the capital of Germany

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According to scientists, the north of Berlin was a very hot area 290 million years ago. A volcano loomed up just beyond Germany’s capital city in Brandenburg. It’s name: The fire mountain of Schönfließ…

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A giant volcano lies underground under Berlin the capital city of Germany. Picture via Tages Spiegel

Today, anyone driving on Glienicker Chaussee north of Berlin in the direction of Schönfließ can hardly imagine that this was once an extremely inhospitable and hostile environment.

Exactly there, southeast of the road, was the tip of a huge volcano, the crater of which was probably two kilometers in diameter – that is, it reached as far as Reinickendorf – and towered just as high out of the flat land.

However, that was about 290 million years ago, at a time when today’s continents had not yet developed and when only the supercontinent Pangea formed reasonably solid ground.

Pangea included today’s Europe, Asia, Africa and both America, and Berlin would have been at the level of the equator.

How do we know all this?

Between 1968 and 1970, GDR scientists, looking for raw materials and ores in the area, drilled a giant 5000-meter-deep borehole.

The material contained evidences of the volcano. But since the geologists didn’t find any precious ores, they rapidly forgot the drilling site, burying with the borehole material.

This material was later rediscovered by molecular biologist Lutz Essers from Tegel, who determined, with some geologist friends, the exact location of the volcanic peak, just at the outskirts of nowaday Berlin.

The remains of this volcano “rest” at a depth of 3756 meters. The former 2000-meter-high peak has shrunk to 1069 meters. And don’t worry! This volcano is really at rest. It won’t destroy Berlin… At least not in a ‘human’ time frame.

Geological science also provides an answer to the question of how this enormous volcano could simply disappear. It’s all about plate tectonics! The volcano sank like all of northern Germany and was covered by eroded material over the course of millions of years. More at Tagesspiegel

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2 COMMENTS

  1. No danger. So, that borehole was covered up and forgotten about. Then rediscovered. That’s good news for Berliners. Now all they have to worry about is the barbarian invaders.

  2. Great site you have here, really enjoying my new daily fix.

    I am a firm believer in the old saying; “you reap what you sow”. Looks like it’s a happening thing right now.

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